Developing Risk Communication Messages around E-Cigarette and Combustible Cigarette Use

Dates: 2017

Geographic Scope: Nationwide

Client(s): Georgia State University

Service: Health Communication

Technical Expertise: Substance Use


JSI is working collaboratively with Georgia State University's (GSU) Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) initiative to develop messages that communicate the continuum of risk associated with combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes. While e-cigarettes are recognized as less harmful than traditional combustible cigarettes, e-cigarettes still impose health risks to users.

Health agencies are grappling with the challenge of communicating the different risks of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes. E-cigarettes are widely recognized as a safer option for smokers who would not otherwise quit or among you who would have otherwise started smoking combustible cigarettes. However, messaging e-cigarettes as a less harmful option to combustible cigarettes could delay or prevent smoking cessation, promote initiation, or promote dual use.

In an effort to understand what types of risk messages would be least likely to produce population harm and most likely to produce population-level benefits, JSI is developing message sets that will be tested through a series of focus groups among adults. The final message sets will be provided to GSU TCORS and will be used to inform their future message testing efforts.