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Behavioral Economic Purchase Tasks to Estimate Demand for Novel Nicotine/tobacco Products and Prospectively Predict Future Use: Evidence From The Netherlands

5/21/2019 - Nicotine & tobacco research

INTRODUCTION: The demand for alternative nicotine/tobacco products is not well established. This paper uses a behavioral economic approach to test whether smokers have differential demand for conventional factory-made, electronic, and very low nicotine content cigarettes (FMCs/ECs/VLNCs) and uses the prospective cohort design to test the predictive validity of demand indices on subsequent use of commercially available FMCs and ECs. METHODS: Daily smokers (≥16 years) from the Netherlands completed an online survey in April 2014 (N = 1215). Purchase tasks were completed for FMCs, ECs, and VLNCs. Participants indicated the number of cigarettes they would consume in 24 h, across a range of prices (0-30 euro). The relationship between consumption and price was quantified into four indices of demand (intensity, Pmax, breakpoint, and essential value). A follow-up survey in July 2015 measured FMC and EC use. RESULTS: At baseline, greater demand was observed for FMCs relative to ECs and VLNCs across all demand indices, with no difference between ECs and VLNCs. At follow-up, greater baseline FMC demand (intensity, essential value) was associated with lower quit rates and higher relapse. EC demand (Pmax, breakpoint, essential value) was positively associated with any EC use between survey waves, past 30 day EC use, and EC purchase between waves. CONCLUSIONS: Smokers valued FMCs more than ECs or VLNCs, and FMCs were less sensitive to price increases. Demand indices predicted use of commercially available products over a 15 month period. To serve as viable substitutes for FMCs, ECs and VLNCs will need to be priced lower than FMCs. IMPLICATIONS: Purchase tasks can be adapted for novel nicotine/tobacco products as a means to efficiently quantify demand and predict use. Among current daily smokers, the demand for ECs and VLNCs is lower than FMCs.
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