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Butler, Eboneé N.; Hall, Marissa G.; Chen, May S.; Pepper, Jessica K.; Blanton, Hart; & Brewer, Noel T. (2020). The Prototypes of Tobacco Users Scale (POTUS) for Cigarette Smoking and E-Cigarette Use: Development and Validation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6081. PMCID: PMC7503746


Endorsing prototypes of cigarette smokers predicts cigarette smoking, but less is known about prototypes of users of other tobacco products. Our study sought to establish the reliability and validity of a measure of prototypes of smokers and e-cigarette users. Participants were from a national survey of smokers and non-smokers (n = 1414), a randomized clinical trial (RCT) of adult smokers (n = 2149), and adolescent children of adults in the trial (n = 112). The Prototypes of Tobacco Users Scale (POTUS) has four positive adjectives (cool, sexy, smart, and healthy) and four negative adjectives (disgusting, unattractive, immature, and inconsiderate) describing cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users. Confirmatory factor analyses identified a two-factor solution. The POTUS demonstrated strong internal consistency reliability in all three samples (median α = 0.85) and good test-retest reliability among adults in the RCT (median r = 0.61, 1-4 weeks follow-up). In the RCT, smokers more often agreed with negative prototypes for smokers than for e-cigarette users (mean = 2.03 vs. 1.67, p < 0.05); negative prototypes at baseline were also associated with more forgoing of cigarettes and making a quit attempt at the end of the trial (Week 4 follow-up). The POTUS may be useful to public health researchers seeking to design interventions that reduce tobacco initiation or cessation through the manipulation of tobacco user prototypes.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Butler, Eboneé N.
Hall, Marissa G.
Chen, May S.
Pepper, Jessica K.
Blanton, Hart
Brewer, Noel T.

Article Type





United States of America