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International Tobacco Control Policy Survey

The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) is the first-ever international cohort study of tobacco use. Its overall objective is to measure the psychosocial and behavioural impact of key national level policies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The ITC Project is a collaborative effort with international health organizations and policymakers in 29 countries so far, inhabited by >50% of the world’s population, >60% of the world’s smokers, and >70% of the world’s tobacco users. In each country, the ITC Project is conducting prospective cohort surveys to assess the impact and identify the determinants of effective tobacco control policies in each of the following areas:

  • Health warning labels and package descriptors
  • Smoke-free legislation
  • Pricing and taxation of tobacco products
  • Communication and education
  • Cessation
  • Tobacco advertising and promotion

The ITC Project is based at the University of Warerloo in Canada. UIC has the subcontract from the Medical University of South Carolina project (PI Michael Cummings). The goal of this project is to understand how the differing policy environments in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are influencing the use of vaporized nicotine products and smoked tobacco products in national samples of adult smokers, recent quitters, and regular vapers.

The UIC group assesses the costs of using various vaping products and studies how these costs compare to the costs of smoking. We use ITC Four Country Tobacco and E-cigarettes Surveys to compare the costs of vaping across different types of vaping products (e.g. disposable e-cigarettes, reusable e-cigarettes, tank systems), including the fixed costs (e.g. for the device) and the marginal costs (e.g. the costs of the e-liquid). We use data from as many countries as possible, based on the questions for type of product used and cost of using.

In addition, with the introduction of and the growth in the use of emerging nicotine products, there are rising concerns that smokers might turn to new products when cigarettes become more expensive and are more regulated compared with other tobacco products. Indeed, public health concerns on vaping products depend on the nature of the use between cigarettes and vaping. If vaping products are used in addition to traditional cigarettes, this dual use behavior harms population health. Alternatively, if vaping completely substitute for traditional cigarettes, this complete switching behavior benefits public health. To better understand the substitutability or complementarity of cigarettes and vaping, we assess the relationships between cigarette and vaping use by focusing on the role cost plays in those relationships.