Knowledge generation, synthesis and translation is one of the three pillars of IGTC's operating framework. Since its inception, the institute has been actively involved in the generation of scientific evidence to support to the development of strong tobacco control policies around the world. The MPOWER policy package frames the range of focus areas in which we engage, including research on tobacco product advertising and health warning label effectiveness. Examples of such projects are provided below:
Vaping and Patterns of E-cigarette Use
Research (VAPER) Study
Johns Hopkins University and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are conducting the Vaping and Patterns of E-Cigarette Use Research (VAPER) Study, with funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (2U54DA036105- 06), to better understand the impacts of future policy proposals on e-cigarette use and vaping behavior.
This study will determine the extent to which results from other previous studies (conducted under controlled conditions) are valid population-level predictions. In combination with the other studies, this study will provide the FDA with a set of tools that can be used to guide regulation development such that, by the time a regulation goes into effect, validated methods have been used to test it, refine it, and generate data that show that its health-promoting effects are maximized and unintended consequences are minimized.
The Battle to Increase Tobacco Health Warning Labels: Lessons from India
Tobacco use is a major public health problem in India, with estimates of deaths attributable to tobacco use ranging from 700,000 to almost 1,000,000 deaths per year. The primary goal of this study is to understand the process and determinants that led to the ultimate implementation 85 percent Health Warning Labels (HWLs), with a specific focus on the tactics and arguments used by proponents and opponents of the HWLs. A case study approach was used whereby data were gathered from key informants (N=22) and documents (N=68). Findings showed that proponents launched an effective advocacy campaign that focused on three complementary tactics - litigation, strategic use of the media, and sensitization of decision makers – in order to build awareness of the harms of tobacco use, and the effectiveness of a larger health warning label, elevate the visibility of this policy issue, and persuade the government to take action. The campaign was grounded in scientific evidence and in-depth knowledge of the political context, which also helped advocates better frame their tactics as well as arguments.
Striving for Equity: A Scoping Review of E-Cigarettes, Heated Tobacco Products and Tobacco-Related Disparities
In a perfect world, everyone would have an equal opportunity to reach their maximum health potential, but research shows that factors like education and racism create barriers for optimal health. We searched the existing literature and studies in the pipeline for information about the impact of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) in relation to tobacco disparities.
The results from a draft of the scoping review were discussed in a convening with 25 experts from academia, funding agencies, and civil society. The report includes the research gaps identified by the convening participants that need to be addressed in order to advance a health equity agenda to eliminate tobacco-related disparities.
Examining the Appeal of Cigarette Packs Among Adolescents and Young Adults in Mexico City
With the potential to reach millions, advertising is a powerful source used by tobacco companies to recruit and retain smokers. As more countries adopt restrictions on tobacco marketing, cigarette packs serve as a valuable communicative platform, acting as portable advertising with users disseminating brand imagery and messaging wherever they go. This mixed-methods study was carried out in two phases. First, we conducted 15 focus group discussions with adolescent smokers and non-smokers (13-17 years old) and young adult smokers (18-24 years old) in Mexico City to assess which cigarette pack features are most appealing to young people and why. Results from the focus groups showed that bold, contrasting colors and flavor descriptors increased pack appeal among youth. The features identified through these discussions informed the next phase of the study: a self-administered survey of adolescents and young adults. Combined, findings from this research support the implementation of plain packaging and a flavor ban as measures to prevent youth initiation.
Please watch the associated video abstract of published articles with results from the focus groups and read the associated fact sheets (the materials are available in both English and Spanish).