Abstract 14605: Perceptions and Use of Electronic Cigarettes Among Middle and High School Students in Appalachia
Introduction: Across the US, youth use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has increased. Recent studies suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with increased intention to smoke traditional cigarettes. In regions, like Appalachia, where youth use of traditional tobacco products is among the most prevalent in the United States, even the slightest increase in acceptance of tobacco products could counteract recent anti-tobacco efforts aimed at reducing cultural acceptance of tobacco in the region. The aim of this study is to compare e-cigarette users’ and nonusers’ tobacco consumption as well as perceptions of e-cigarette advertising and health effects.
Methods: During the 2014-2015 school year, a cross-sectional survey (n=872) about students’ (age 11-19 years) perceptions and use of tobacco products was conducted in three Appalachian states: Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to compare tobacco use and perceptions among e-cigarette users and nonusers.
Results: About 20% of youth reported trying e-cigarettes. Controlling for age and gender, students who reported traditional cigarette use were 17 times more likely than non-users to also report trying e-cigarettes (95% CI= 10, 32). E-cigarette users were more likely to use smokeless tobacco (p<0.0001), report feeling targeted by e-cigarette ads (p=0.0004), and obtain information about e-cigarettes from friends/family (p<0.0001) and digital media (p=0.004). Students who had not tried e-cigarettes were more likely to consider e-cigarettes tobacco products (p=0.001) and to believe that e-cigarettes cause health problems (p<0.0001).
Conclusions: In this study, e-cigarette use was associated with consumption of other tobacco products. Communication channels to obtain information about e-cigarettes varied between users and nonusers, which may shape perceived health risks. Understanding youth perceptions of e-cigarettes is vital to developing successful anti-tobacco and anti-e-cigarette campaigns.
Author Disclosures: C.G. Sears: None. K.L. Walker: None. J.L. Hart: None. A.S. Lee: None. A. Siu: None. C. Smith: None. A. Bhatnagar: None. R.M. Robertson: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.