Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication (CRRTC)

CRRTC identifies effective strategies for communicating with the public about the health effects of smoking and using other tobacco products. Our research focuses on how to provide the public with clear, understandable, and accurate information about the chemicals in tobacco products. CRRTC is one of 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science funded by the FDA in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products has established multiple research priorities on communication science to better inform tobacco product regulation consistent with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  CRRTC will focus on research to assist the FDA in developing and disseminating risk messages about tobacco products consistent with FDA's regulatory authority and responsibility to protect public health.

CRRTC is a partnership between researchers at  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest School of Medicine.

CRRTC is advancing tobacco regulatory science by investigating consumer risk perceptions and risk messaging for both cigarettes and non-cigarette tobacco products, including the impact of the source (e.g. FDA) on message effectiveness, using newly developed real-world testing protocols that are innovative and generalizable.  We are also examining, testing, and refining communication messages to the public about FDA's regulatory authority and optimal ways to brand FDA communication campaigns, with the ultimate goal of improving FDA efforts to protect public health. 

CRRTC consists of three research projects:

Project 1: Communicating the Risks of Harmful Cigarette Smoke Constituents

  • Principal Investigator, Noel T. Brewer, PhD
  • The project explores how people think about chemicals in cigarette smoke, building toward a randomized controlled trial of smokers’ reactions to constituent warnings on their cigarette packs.


Project 2: Effective Risk Communication on New and Emerging Tobacco Products

  • Principal Investigator, Erin Sutfin, PhD
  • The project will develop and test warning messages about electronic cigarettes, hookah, little cigars, and cigarillos.  The messages will focus on vulnerable populations,including adolescents and young adults, and gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.


Project 3: Enhancing Source Credibility in Tobacco Regulatory Communications

  • Principal Investigator, Adam O. Goldstein, MD, MPH
  • This project will determine factors that influence public perceptions of information sources, explore new ways to engage tobacco users, investigate communication issues within vulnerable populations, and evaluate how the source of messages affects how people perceive the messages.


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