Tobacco Harm Reduction Advertising in the Presence of a Government-Mandated Warning

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Abstract

Compelling research suggests that smokeless tobacco (SLT) products are safer than cigarettes, but awareness of this potential harm reduction alternative among consumers is low. Therefore, two between-subjects experimental studies explore the potential for allowing the marketing of SLT as a “reduced-risk” alternative to cigarette smoking. Specifically, this article addresses the issue of whether a harm reduction message with the simultaneous presence of the U.S. government-mandated warning would: (1) change intentions of smokers to use SLT products; or (2) attract those who would not otherwise use any tobacco. Results suggest that an advertiser making a harm reduction statement in the presence of the warning leads to limited changes in consumers' risk perceptions of SLT products or intentions to try the product. Exposure to the experimental ads did not make nonsmokers significantly more likely to try SLT products, but also did not make smokers indicate that they were likely to switch to SLT products.

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