Youth Response to E-cigarettes and Emerging Nicotine Products
(Funded by Cancer Research UK)
Since their introduction in 2011, the e-cigarette market has continued to develop rapidly, including the recent introduction of Juul to the UK. Additionally, the emergence of new nicotine products such as Heat not Burn (HnB) products, which share similarities with e-cigarettes, have the potential to cause confusion in distinguishing different types of alternatives to smoking. Given this changing nicotine environment, there is an urgent need to monitor young people’s interest in and understanding of these products, the messages conveyed to young people through their marketing, the extent to which HnB and other new nicotine products are perceived as similar to, or distinct from, e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes, and to ensure collection of valid survey data
This research aims to 1) explore young people’s response to e-cigarettes and their advertising, alongside response to emerging nicotine devices and 2) develop validated survey questions which accurately represent the changing nicotine market.
The study involves two work packages. Work Package 1 will comprise qualitative research, taking the form of 14 focus groups, with 11 to 24 year olds. Awareness and understanding of different product types and response to examples of advertising for these products will be explored. Work Package 2 will involve developing and testing survey questions to examine response to and understanding of different product types. Survey questions will undergo thorough piloting before being inserted in an online survey.
This study will provide an insight into young people’s perceptions, understanding and response to e-cigarettes and new and emerging nicotine devices. It will show the extent to which these products, and the marketing of these, are seen as similar or distinct. This study will inform policy by examining the adequacy or otherwise of marketing controls and the need for any consumer education on the differences between products and any differences in product harms. The development and testing of survey questions, along with data collected via an online survey will provide validated questions to monitor prevalence of e-cigarette use and use of new and emerging alternatives to smoking, to ensure that surveys collect valid data and avoid ambiguity about the type of device being asked about. These questions will have potential to be used in national surveys thereafter.