A new study indicates that there is little awareness of the chemical components of cigarette smoke among US adults despite having looked for relevant information.

In a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggest that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expand its messaging activities so that information about these constituents reaches all segments of the US population, especially those most vulnerable to tobacco product use and its associated health risks.

Marcella Boynton, first author of the research paper, said: “The majority of the US public wants easy access to information about chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Surprisingly, our results reveal that groups one might presume to be the least psychologically motivated to look for this information, young adults and smokers, were more likely to say that they had previously looked for this information.”

More than a quarter of adults (27.5%) reported having looked for information on the different components of tobacco products and tobacco smoke, many of which are known to be poisonous or cause cancer. Out of these adults, 37.2% were young adults (18-25 years of age) and 34.3% were smokers. Out of non-smokers and older adults, 26% reported having looked for information on tobacco constituents. However, with the exception of nicotine, most respondents were largely unaware of which constituents are present in cigarette smoke. Over half of respondents (54.8%) indicated that they would like relevant information to be available on cigarette packs, and 28.7% would prefer to access that information online.

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