Understanding Public Attitudes Toward Tobacco Harm Reduction: The Role of Attitude Structure1


  • 1

    This research was funded by a pilot grant to Eugene Borgida from the Minnesota Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC), NCI/NIDA P50 DA-13333. Portions of this paper were presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL, April 2004. The authors thank the Minnesota Center for Survey Research for their administration of the survey, and the Minnesota TTURC for its support. We also thank Mark Zanna and Chris Miller for their comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.


The present research examines whether and to what extent the underlying structure of attitudes toward harm reduction and specific reduced-exposure products contributes to an understanding of public attitudes toward harm reduction. Past research has focused on the extent to which some attitude objects are primarily affective or cognitive. Using survey data from a 5-state Upper Midwest sample, we tested the relevance of 4 pertinent properties of attitudes for predicting overall attitudes toward tobacco harm reduction: affective and cognitive bases of attitudes; knowledge; experience with smoking and reduced-harm products; and affective/cognitive consistency. We found that feelings about harm reduction are most predictive of overall attitudes toward harm reduction and specific reduced-harm products. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.