ITC Project

Evaluating How Tobacco Control Policies are Shaping the Nicotine Delivery Market

Institutions: Medical University of South Carolina, USA, & University of Waterloo, Canada
Collaborating Institutions: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, USA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, USA, & Georgetown University, USA
Grant Period: April 19, 2016 through March 31, 2021
Principal Investigator(s): K. Michael Cummings & Geoffrey T. Fong
 
There is debate about whether vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) will prove to have a net positive or negative impact on population health. Policies regulating VNPs are rapidly evolving and data are needed to guide policy development. This Program Project presents an innovative and integrated set of studies that will fill this gap by contributing high impact science and novel research methods useful for evaluating how the evolving VNP marketplace and tobacco control policy environment are impacting individuals and population health outcomes.
 
This Program Project builds upon the longstanding International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) which has used cross-country comparisons and a common mediation model to evaluate the behavioral impacts of national level tobacco control policies implemented as part of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The overarching research paradigm is founded on the premise that to thoroughly assess policies to regulate VNPs it is essential to do so at the population level in the real world and at the individual-level under controlled experimental conditions. Our research addresses this need by examining the use and evolution of VNP marketplace in the United States, England, and Canada. These three countries were selected because of similar smoking rates and similar histories of cigarette product regulations but divergent policies regulating VNPs. 
 
The set of five inter-related studies and two core services represents a logical evolution of the ITC Project to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioral impact of VNP policies. They will address three overall aims: 1) To provide a more thorough understanding of how the policy environment influences uptake of and transitions from smoked tobacco to VNPs; 2) To contribute to the development of methods for monitoring response to VNPs and future alternative nicotine products; and 3) To develop methods to assist policymakers in forecasting the population health impact of different product regulatory schemes. Collectively, the proposed studies comprehensively examine how different VNP policy environments are influencing VNP and smoked tobacco use behaviors in the real world and the measured impact of theoretical policy options in the experimental setting. The end product of this holistic program of policy research will be a unique, multi-country evidence base with strong potential to inform policies and regulations in the United States, England, and Canada and perhaps other countries as well.
 
In summary, policies regulating VNPs are rapidly evolving and data are needed to guide policy development.  This Program Project presents an innovative and integrated set of studies that will fill this gap by contributing high impact science and novel research methods useful for evaluating how the evolving VNP marketplace and tobacco control policy environment are impacting individuals and population health outcomes.