Comprehension and perceptions of reduced risk information for camel snus
A continuum of risk exists among tobacco products, whereby non-combusted products present less health risks than combusted products. Achieving tobacco harm reduction requires risk information be effectively communicated to consumers, while also communicating appropriate cautions. This study assessed consumers’ comprehension and perceptions of reduced risk information for Camel Snus. An online sample of 4,924 U.S. adult tobacco users and non-users viewed an advertisement, stating that smokers who switch completely from cigarettes to Camel Snus can greatly reduce their risk of lung cancer, oral cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease. Respondents answered questions about the risks of Camel Snus relative to cigarettes, absolute risks of Camel Snus, and other information in the advertisement. Across the four diseases mentioned, <10% of respondents indicated Camel Snus presented no risk at all; most (52-62% across diseases) indicated Camel Snus presented less risk than cigarettes, but still some risk. Some indicated Camel Snus had the same risk as cigarettes; this varied by disease, even though risk information did not indicate differences. Thirty-seven percent of respondents indicated the risk of oral cancer was the same for Camel Snus and cigarettes, compared to only 20% for lung cancer, suggesting that responses were shaped by intuitions and pre-existing beliefs, as well as the advertisement’s content. High proportions of respondents (>80%) indicated Camel Snus is addictive, quitting tobacco use is the best choice, and non-tobacco users should not use Camel Snus – all statements included in the advertisement. Only 4% believed smokers would receive a health benefit if they continued to smoke while using Camel Snus. These findings suggest that appropriate information regarding the relative risks of tobacco products can be effectively communicated to consumers.