Research continues to guide all of our underage tobacco prevention efforts. 

In early 2019, a Regulatory Sciences research team created a new approach for this portfolio to deepen our understanding of demographics, use patterns and risk and protective factors of e-vapor and other new products to inform our prevention and cessation strategies. The plan is guided by strategies to increase the timeliness and quality of surveillance and target and accelerate learnings from relevant stakeholder perspective.

The rapidly changing tobacco landscape demands that our underage tobacco prevention strategies be informed by the latest available information and this survey will generate actionable information on a more frequent, timely basis than what is currently provided through the government and Public Health national data sets. In the first quarter of 2020, Altria piloted a new underage tobacco use monitoring tool designed to provide timelier data covering more product categories, as compared to current survey tools. We began full execution of the Underage Tobacco Use Survey in the second quarter of 2020.

We assess several key measures of tobacco use among underage individuals, including awareness of tobacco products, current and ever tobacco use, demographic characteristics, brand and flavors used, and sources of access. The annual target sample size for the survey is 5,000 individuals under the legal age for tobacco use. We met our target from May to November 2020, collecting data from 5,252 underage individuals. We shared this data with FDA and made the results public through our Altria Science website, where we provide updates every 6 months.

This Underage Tobacco Use Survey is designed to help us meet stakeholder expectations – made clear through interactions with FDA personnel evaluating product and claim authorizations, the Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee, investors, public health groups and others – that we and other tobacco manufacturers need to understand the latest product-specific underage tobacco use trends.