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Arnold School of Public Health

Product Labeling

Active Research

Evaluation of cigarette package inserts for enhanced communication with smokers

Cigarette manufacturers have long used inserts (i.e., small leaflets) in cigarette packs to reach smokers with promotional messages. However, inserts remain underused for public health communication, as Canada is the only country in the world whose labeling policy includes inserts, which our research finds to be extremely promising for helping smokers quit. Our study will provide the strongest research on package inserts to date and will be informative for the US Food and Drug Administration in developing new labels for cigarettes in the US.

Research Activities:  Through 2021, we are collecting data for an experimental study where smokers receive a 14-day supply of their preferred cigarette brand with packs modified to reflect their experimental condition (i.e., inserts; pictorial warnings; inserts + pictorial warnings; control group).  Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is used collect data around smoking sessions, when exposure to pack inserts and warnings are most likely, to evaluate cessation-related psychosocial and behavioral outcomes.  To evaluate the 2022 implementation of new inserts and warnings in Canada, we will use EMA along with longitudinal surveys of smokers before and after policy implementation.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute /NIH (PI Thrasher, R01 CA215466)

People:  Jim Thrasher (PI), James Hardin (Co-Investigator), Julia Budiongan, Emily Loud, Victoria Lambert, Charity Ntansah, Adebusola Ogunnaike, Yoojin Cho, Chung Li Wu, Andrew Chen, Addyson Haage, Claudia Lagnese.

Global Cancer Disparities Supplement - “Evaluation of cigarette package inserts for enhanced communication with smokers”

Latinos are the largest and most rapidly growing minority group in the US, and research is sorely needed on ways to promote smoking cessation in this group.  This study will shed light on the cultural factors and social network characteristics that lead Mexican and Mexican American smokers to have conversations about smoking cessation messages with important others, which prior research has found to predict smoking cessation behaviors.  Results aim to identify ways to more effectively communicate with US Latinos in order to reduce cancer-related disparities.

Research Activities:  Through 2021, we will use social media to recruit Mexican and Mexican American smokers to participate in a month-long study, where we send a smoking cessation message via smartphones, each of which is follows by a brief survey, with an additional survey at the end of each day regarding smoking behavior and discussions with others about smoking, smoking cessation, and the messages we send.  We will analyze how social network and cultural characteristics influence these discussions.

Funding: National Cancer Institute/NIH (PI Thrasher, R01 CA215466-S1)

People: Jim Thrasher (PI), Victoria Lambert (Co-Investigator), Rachel Davis (Co-Investigator), Katia Gallegos (Co-Investigator), Diego Leal (Co-Investigator), Gaby Armendariz.

Little cigar and cigarillo warnings to reduce tobacco-related cancers and disease

Research on effective warning labels for cigarettes is well established, but little is known about effective warnings for cigarillos and little cigars, which are increasingly popular in the US.  This project will develop and evaluate the effectiveness of warning labels for cigarillos and little cigars through a series of online experiments. 

Funding agency:  National Cancer Institute/NIH (PI Adam Goldstein, R01 CA240732)

People:  Jim Thrasher (Co-Investigator).

New consumer warnings to counter reassurance- based tobacco marketing

This project involves qualitative studies and experiments to develop and evaluate how warning label and campaign messages can counter reassurance-based tobacco marketing (e.g., filters, tobacco descriptors) among Australian smokers.

Funding agency: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (PI M Wakefield, GNT1142981)

People: Jim Thrasher (Co-Investigator)

International food policy study: Evaluating the impact of food labelling, marketing, and fiscal nutrition policies

Food labelling is a broad-reaching strategy to help consumers make informed decisions about the nutritional content of the food they buy.  Countries have adopted different labeling policies, and this study is evaluating the impact of these policies on dietary behaviors between and within countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States).

Research activities:   From 2018 – 2024, we are conducting annual cross-sectional surveys of approximately 4,500 adults in Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Funding Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant (PI Hammond)

People: Jim Thrasher (Co-Investigator), Rachel Davis, Gabriela Armendariz, Yoojin Cho, Emily Loud, Adebusola Ogunnaike

Completed Research (Selected Projects)

Building the evidence for effective and sustainable cigarette warning label policy.  

This project used quasi-experimental and experimental designs among adult smokers in Mexico, Australia, Canada, and the US to determine the characteristics of pictorial health warning labels with maximum impact on quit-related cognitions, affect & behavior, assessing factors associated with differential wear-out of effects.

Funding: National Cancer Institute/NIH (PI Thrasher, R01 CA167067)

Dates: 07/01/2012 – 04/30/2018

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.