TCORS: Information and Misleading Information about Tobacco Products in the "New" and "Old" Public Communication Environment


This is Project 1 of the University of Pennsylvania's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, Information and Misleading Information about Tobacco Products in the "New" and "Old" Public Communication Environment: Measuring Its Presence, Estimating Its Effects, Recommending Regulatory Responses. Sherry Emery, PhD, is a co-investigator on the project and leads the work at UIC. Robert Hornik, PhD, of Penn is the project's principal investigator. 

Public communications about tobacco products – including pro-tobacco messages promulgated by manufacturers, anti-tobacco public education messages, and communications shared on social media – can influence public opinion and behavior. This prospective, repeated measure, observational study will examine information and misinformation about tobacco products in traditional and emerging media and how exposure to this information alters beliefs, attitudes, intentions, and tobacco use in a nationally representative sample of 10,800 youth and young adults aged 13-25. Specific aims are:

  1. Conduct a content analysis that characterizes "opportunities for exposure" to anti- and pro-tobacco product and smoking information presented in traditional and emerging social media over 36 months, for the total study population as well as for subgroups defined by age, socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, and smoking status.
  2. Conduct 36 monthly telephone surveys evaluating whether variation in anti- and pro-tobacco message content is associated with attitudes and beliefs about tobacco products, and whether exposure to pro-tobacco content predicts subsequent tobacco beliefs, attitudes and use.

By describing tobacco message themes and developing tools to monitor the traditional and emerging communication environment, this project may inform the FDA's efforts to communicate effectively about tobacco products.

Research Partner(s)

Principal investigator
Funding Agency

National Institute on Drug Abuse (to University of Pennsylvania, Grant No. P50CA179546), part of the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS), funded by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health


Start date
End date
About this grant

This grant is a subcontract from University of Pennsylvania.

Parent Study
Tobacco Product Messaging in a Complex Communication Environment
PI of Parent Study
Robert C. Hornik and Caryn Lerman
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia