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Guatemala is one of the few countries where both heated tobacco products (HTPs) and electronic cigarettes (ecigarettes) remain unregulated. We used a discrete choice experiment (DCE) administered to 2038 high school students to assess how tobacco product attributes influence their appeal among Guatemalan adolescents. Participants were randomly assigned to evaluate 4 of 32 contrasting sets, each containing 3 packs (1 of each product type). Experimental manipulations included: product type, brand, nicotine content and flavor. Participants then indicated which product they were most and least interested in trying and would be most and least harmful to their health. Conditional logistic regression models were used to assess the impact of product characteristics on choice. Product type accounted for almost 90% of variation in choices. Respondents were less interested in trying HTPs (B = − 0.93; p < 0.001) and viewed them as more harmful (B = 2.77; p < 0.001) compared to cigarettes. They were more interested in trying e-cigarettes (B = 1.22; p < 0.001), which were also perceived as less harmful (B = − 1.47; p < 0.001) compared to cigarettes. Products without nicotine were of more interest for trying (B = 0.14; p < 0.001) and perceived as more harmful (B = 0.20; p < 0.001) than those with. Students were more interested in trying a flavor compared to regular tobacco and among the flavors, berry was the highest rated one (B = 0.28; p < 0.001). Finally, in this country with weak tobacco control, e-cigarettes appear to be more appealing and perceived as less harmful than HTPs and cigarettes. Packaging and flavoring regulations are urgently needed on these products as they are a marketing strategy targeting adolescents.

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APA Citation

Monzón, J., Islam, F., Mus, S., Thrasher, J. F., & Barnoya, J. (2021). Effects of tobacco product type and characteristics on appeal and perceived harm: Results from a discrete choice experiment among Guatemalan adolescents. Preventive Medicine, 148, 106590.


© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license