Jonathan Nevitt, Bradford F. Mills, Dixie W. Reaves, and George W. Norton
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

A telephone survey of United States consumers’ views on tobacco biopharming indicates widespread support for developing the technology when it generates a socially beneficial application. Perceptions of risks associated with the technology, however, are split: Most respondents either hold concerns in every risk area presented or in none of them. Willingness to purchase a bio-tobacco-based medicine is bimodal as well. These polarized perceptions point to the challenges faced by policy makers who attempt to implement regulatory oversight of biopharming by balancing the broad-based concerns of the public against the potentially significant benefits of the technology.

Key words: Agricultural biotechnology, biopharming, consumer surveys, genetically modified (GM) crops, plant-made pharmaceuticals, risk perception, technology acceptance, transgenic tobacco, willingness to purchase.