A Study Examines Perceived Positive And Negative Traits Of Adolescent E-Cigarette Users

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A newly published study examined the relationship between adolescents’ positive opinions of e-cigarette users and willingness to use e-cigarettes. Participants were 578 U.S. adolescents (ages 14 to 20) recruited from ten California schools. An online survey assessed their attitudes toward and opinions of adolescents who use e-cigarettes in 2015-2016.
Findings included:
  • The majority (61%) of participants had negative overall opinions toward adolescent e-cigarette users.
  • Few participants ascribed positive traits (i.e., sexy, cool, clean, smart, and healthy) to e-cigarette users.
  • Participants who were willing to try or had used e-cigarettes endorsed positive traits more than those unwilling to try and never-users.
  • Participants sometimes endorsed negative traits (i.e., unattractive, trashy, immature, disgusting, and inconsiderate) to describe e-cigarette users.
  • Unwilling and never-users viewed negative traits as more descriptive of e-cigarette users than willing or ever-users.
Adolescents generally had somewhat negative opinions of other adolescents who use e-cigarettes. Building on adolescents’ negativity toward adolescent e-cigarette users may be a productive direction for prevention efforts, and clinicians can play an important role by keeping apprised of the products their adolescent patients are using and providing information on health effects to support negative opinions or dissuade formation of more positive ones.
Source: McKelvey et al. (2018). Adolescents have unfavorable opinions of adolescents who use e-cigarettes. PloS One, Nov 7;13(11):e0206352. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206352. eCollection 2018.
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Top Reason for E-Cigarette Use Among Young Adults: “They come in flavors I like”
A newly published study examined whether strong local policies may reduce e-cigarette initiation rates by influencing the appeal of these products. Online questionnaires were completed by Southern California Children’s Health Study participants in 2015-2016 (mean age?=?18.9?years).

Findings included:

  • The top reason for e-cigarette use was “They come in flavors I like” (57%).
  • Using e-cigarettes to quit smoking was uncommon (13%).
  • Participants in jurisdictions with weaker tobacco retail licensing ordinances were more likely to report use of e-cigarettes because they are less harmful than cigarettes (50% vs. 36%), more acceptable to non-tobacco users (38% vs. 25%), and because they can use e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited (31% vs. 18%).
The study authors recommend targeted policy that conveys the adverse impact of e-cigarettes, and restricts use in public places may reduce e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults.
Source: Hong et al. (2018). The impact of local regulation on reasons for electronic cigarette use among Southern California young adults. Addictive Behaviors, Nov 16. pii: S0306-4603(18)31329-7. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.020. [Epub ahead of print]

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