Older Adults views on new tobacco products

CBC’s ‘Go Public’ News story

CBC’s ‘Go Public’ ran a news story Sunday evening and Monday morning citing a complaint from a CARP member about a recent focus group of CARP members. The purpose of the focus group was to hear about our members’ attitudes on the issue of smoking and potential new products as alternatives. CARP considered this an issue of concern to our members and that the questions were worth asking.

The focus group participants were asked their opinions about non-combustible alternatives to cigarette smoking, including vaping products, heated tobacco products and smokeless tobacco pouches.

The outcome of the focus groups, in line with CARP’s expectations, was that smoking remains highly out of favour, and there was general skepticism amongst the participants about the potential alternatives to smoking. 

Further, CARP members who were former or current smokers were generally not supportive of alternatives to smoking or changes to restrictive legislation. In fact, CARP members expressed their wish for stronger legislation governing alternatives.

Two, one-hour sessions were held; one for current smokers and one for former or non-smokers. 50 individuals registered engaged in the focus group. No compensation was offered for their participation. The focus group was publicized in a regular newsletter to 100,000 CARP members. Only one complaint was received. There is no endorsement of smoking or tobacco companies by CARP. 

The focus group was a one-time event, sponsored by Rothman Benson & Hedges Canada, looking for awareness, attitudes and impressions of older adults towards alternatives to smoking and how the government might consider regulating them. 

Participants were made fully aware of the sponsoring partner both before their registration and at the start of the zoom meeting. Participants freely expressed their opinions about smoking and its alternatives; it was universally negative.