Do Emotions Spark Interest in Alternative Tobacco Products?

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Abstract

Background. Exposure to advertisements for tobacco products and tobacco warning labels evokes emotions. This study evaluated the association of discrete positive and negative emotions with interest in alternative tobacco products. Method. In 2013, 1,226 U.S. adult nonsmokers and current smokers viewed advertisements for moist snuff, snus, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) with various warning labels and then indicated their emotional responses in terms of anger, anxiety, sadness, guilt, disgust, discouragement, hope, and contentment. Outcomes were openness to using moist snuff, snus, and e-cigarettes in the future and interest in a free sample of each product. Data were analyzed in 2016. Results. Hope was positively associated with openness and interest across all alternative tobacco products as was contentment for moist snuff and snus. Anger was negatively associated with openness to moist snuff and e-cigarettes, disgust negatively to moist snuff and snus, and anxiety negatively to e-cigarettes. Being a current smoker, ever trying a corresponding product, being male, and younger age were associated with greater openness to and interest in moist snuff and snus. For e-cigarettes, being a current smoker, ever trying e-cigarettes, and being female were associated with greater openness, and being a current smoker was associated with greater odds of selecting a free sample. Conclusions. Positive emotions, particularly hope, were consistently positively associated with interest in alternative tobacco products. Hope is widely used by tobacco and e-cigarette companies to advertise their products. Antitobacco messages should aim to lower hope associated with tobacco products but increase hope for cessation or life without tobacco.

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