Knowledge and Perceptions of FDA Tobacco Regulation among U.S. Adults in 2015




tobacco, FDA regulation, public opinion


Introduction: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is interested in understanding the factors which influence knowledge and perceptions of the FDA as a credible source for information related to tobacco products. This study examined knowledge and beliefs about FDA regulation of tobacco products among U.S. adults in 2015.

Methods: Data was obtained from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) Wave 5 collected from May to September 2015. Respondents (US adults) reported demographic characteristics, ever tobacco product use, knowledge of FDA tobacco product regulation, and their perception of the FDA’s qualification to regulate tobacco. T-tests and chi-square analysis was conducted to determine differences between respondents who believe the FDA was qualified to regulate tobacco products and those who do not. Logistic regression was run to determine factors associated with believing the FDA is qualified to regulate tobacco.

Results: 47.5% of US adults reported knowing that the FDA regulates tobacco products and 65.7% believed that the FDA was qualified to regulate them. Significant predictors of believing the FDA is qualified to regulate tobacco products included having a college degree, never trying an e-cig, and knowing that the FDA regulates tobacco products in the US.  

Conclusions: Five years after FDA was given regulatory authority for tobacco products, less than half of U.S. adults know that FDA regulates tobacco, and two thirds believe FDA is well qualified to do so. Those with less education and those willing to try new products like e-cigs were the least likely to believe that the FDA was qualified to regulate tobacco. (DOI assigned 1/24/2019)


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