Isaac Lipkus, PhD, professor at Duke University School of Nursing, and his co-investigators Scott Huettel, PhD, professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University; Wei Pan, PhD, associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing; Caroline Cobb, PhD, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and Merlyn Griffiths, associate professor of Marketing at University of North Carolina at Greensboro, were recently awarded $420,830 from the National Institutes of Health for their project entitled “Exploring Reactions to Health Warnings on Waterpipe Tobacco Ads.” Their project is funded for 16 months, from July 1, 2018 until October 31, 2019.
In the U.S., waterpipe tobacco—commonly known as hookah—use is widely popular among young adults and very little is being done to educate this population about the harms of its use. This population is encouraged to use waterpipe tobacco through ads on social media and other outlets that portray tobacco as a fun social activity that’s not harmful to their bodies.
The goal of their 16-month study is to create both text and graphic health warnings for various waterpipe tobacco ads to see which warning is most likely to affect perceptions of harm and desire to smoke or quit waterpipe tobacco.
Lipkus’s research focuses on studying perceptions of health risks, especially in the area of tobacco use. He hopes this award will help further his research by attempting to correct the misconceptions individuals have of the allure of waterpipe tobacco use.
“This study will hopefully result in waterpipe tobacco users quitting its use due to their knowledge of its harm,” says Lipkus. “The higher quit rates will ultimately lead to public health benefits.”