Altria’s Population Science team assesses the population impact of new products, claims and standards to support our Substantial Equivalence (SE), Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) and Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application (MRTPA) submissions to the FDA, for all regulated tobacco products.

Our research is designed to understand the impact of new products, claims and marketing on tobacco user and nonuser perceptions, intentions and behaviors. This research informs our population modeling to determine the potential population health impact of our products and potential modified risk claims. 

The interdisciplinary team includes behavioral scientists, consumer researchers, biostaticians, epidemiologists, pharmacologists and public health experts. 

The work we do to advance tobacco harm reduction includes:

  • Foundational studies to understand how and why consumers change their tobacco use behaviors.
  • Research to understand user and nonuser perceptions, intentions and behaviors.
  • Studies to develop claims and assess claim comprehension. 
  • Instrument development, validation and enhancement. 
  • Studies and monitoring of the adult and youth tobacco landscape.
  • Analysis of national data sets and studies to understand trends in tobacco use patterns.
  • Assessments of the population health impact through population modeling and statistical analyses.

Our Progress
Since 2015:


conference presentations


publications in peer-reviewed journals

Read a recently published article:
Estimating the Population Health Impact of Recently Introduced Modified Risk Tobacco Products: A Comparison of Different Approaches.

Review a recent poster presentation:
How Does Susceptibility Predict Onset of Tobacco Product Use Among Young Adults in the United States? A Focus on Smokeless and E-vapor Tobacco Products. 

Supporting PMTAs and MRTPAs

To secure FDA market authorization under a PMTA, an applicant must demonstrate that marketing of a new tobacco product is appropriate for the protection of public health. The FDA is required to consider the risks and benefits to the population as a whole, including users and nonusers of tobacco products.

A “modified risk tobacco product,” or MRTP, is a legal designation in the U.S. for a tobacco product that poses lower health risks to individual users and the population as a whole, when compared to existing products on the market such as cigarettes, and for which the FDA has authorized a modified risk claim.

In support of our PMTA and MRTPA submissions, we: 

  • Analyze national datasets and execute studies to understand trends in tobacco use patterns and leverage these analyses to understand the potential behavior patterns related to the tobacco product.
  • Conduct perception and behavioral intentions studies, actual use studies and abuse liability assessments to assess the impact of a tobacco product or claim on tobacco users and nonusers. 
  • Model the potential population impact of a new tobacco product or claim, which includes understanding the relative risk of the product and potential use patterns and transition rates.


We build the model using an assessment of the health risk of the product and estimations of changes in use patterns if the product or claim is in the market. These changes in use patterns – or transition rates – are estimated using results from perception and behavioral intentions studies, actual use studies and from secondary analysis of national surveys. 

The overall population impact of a product is then calculated by comparing the difference in tobacco use prevalence and all-cause mortality between the world today and a future scenario in which the candidate product or claim has a market authorization over a specific period of time. View Altria's presentation from FDLI

*IQOS Devices and HeatSticks® are currently unavailable for sale in the United States.
Altria has an agreement with PMI to sell IQOS products in the United States.
2Altria has a 35% economic interest in JUUL, the U.S. leader in e-vapor.