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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Understanding Smoking Preferences: Results from a Discrete Choice Experiment Amongst U.S. Adults

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E-cigarette (vaping) use has increased dramatically in recent years. While switching to vaping might benefit cigarette smokers, there is a risk of increased use by nonsmokers. Adults (N=525) aged 18 to 88 years made choices between two alternatives that differed in policy-relevant characteristics. Nonsmokers preferred e-cigarettes over all other tobacco products (WTP $1.34). Nonsmokers showed a strong aversion to the addictiveness of the products and long-term health risks. Light and heavy smokers differed in their attitudes toward health risks, with heavy smokers being relatively unsensitive to long-term health risks compared to light smokers. Cost was a particularly important factor for nonsmokers. Marginal analysis suggests smokers were relatively unsensitive to price increases alone. Vaping is attractive for nonsmokers when they perceived health risks are low, suggesting that behavior change campaigns should focus on the health risks. Results also suggest that it may be difficult to get smokers to shift to vaping.

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