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Message Testing for Tobacco-Related Corrective Statements

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Trial Information

Message Testing for Tobacco-Related Corrective Statements


This document outlines the study design and procedures to be used to evaluate a series of
corrective statements to augment consumer knowledge and beliefs about smoking as related to
past actions of tobacco companies. The statements were ordered by a U.S. Federal Court in
U.S. v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., and are intended to target potential misperceptions
resultant of past marketing and promotion practices undertaken by the tobacco industry.


The U.S. Department of Justice has asked NCI to take the lead on developing and testing
corrective statements with adult and youth audiences to ensure both message comprehension
and avoidance of unintended consequences of message exposure, such as boomerang effects,
smoking triggers, or knowledge gaps.

The court has identified five areas that the statements shall address:

1. The adverse health effects of smoking;

2. The addictiveness of smoking and nicotine;

3. The lack of any significant health benefit from smoking low tar, light, ultra
light, mild, and natural cigarettes;

4. The tobacco industry's manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure
optimum nicotine delivery;

5. The adverse health effects of secondhand smoke.


Message testing will be undertaken with the following audiences:

- Current smokers (with an oversample of low socioeconomic status individuals)

- General population nonsmokers and former smokers (with an oversample of low
socioeconomic status individuals)

- Spanish-speaking Hispanics

- Youth age 14-17


Both qualitative and quantitative methods (focus groups and post-test comparison group
Web-enabled surveys) will be used to develop and test a range of corrective statements in
the five areas outlined by the court.

- Focus group participants: 48-64

- Survey participants: 2500

Inclusion Criteria


- Youth age 14-17

- Youth current smokers, former smokers, and never smokers

- Youth male and female genders

- Youth of all race/ethnicity categories, including: White, Black/African American,
Asian, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific


Participants will be excluded from focus groups and survey if they work in:

- Media

- Advertising, market research

- Public health or health promotion

- An employee of the Federal Govemment who works at HHS or DoJ

- The tobacco or alcohol industries

Type of Study:


Study Design:


Principal Investigator

Kelly D Blake, D.Sc.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

January 2011

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Tobacco
  • Smoking
  • Communication
  • Online Surveys
  • Tobacco Corrective Statements
  • Message Testing
  • Focus Groups
  • Smoking



National Cancer Institute (NCI), 9000 Rockville PikeBethesda, Maryland  20892