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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2017 May;43(3):306-310. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2016.1203926. Epub 2016 Aug 5.

Electronic cigarette initiation among minority youth in the United States.

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a Community Health Promotion , University of Arkansas , Fayetteville , AR , USA.



Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette) use among youth is a pressing public health issue, with prevalence of use surpassing that of tobacco cigarettes. While research concerning e-cigarettes has proliferated in recent years, there is a dearth of information regarding those whose first exposure to tobacco products was an e-cigarette.


To examine factors associated with e-cigarette initiation among minority youth in the United States.


Data on minority students in middle and high schools in the United States derived from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) were sampled (weighted N = 27,294,454). We examined e-cigarette initiation among minority youth using logistic regression models to identify related factors.


In 2014, 736,158 minority youth were e-cigarette initiators. Odds of e-cigarette initiation was highest among Hispanic youth [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.70; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.60-4.56]. Exposure to e-cigarette advertising (AOR = 1.64; 95% CI = 1.07-2.50), perceptions of little to no harm (AOR = 7.08; 95% CI = 4.03-12.46), and believing e-cigarettes were less addictive than tobacco (AOR = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.52-3.02) were associated with e-cigarette initiation.


Odds of initiating e-cigarette use was highest among Hispanic youth. Among minority youth, e-cigarette initiation was associated with perceptions of harm and addiction potential, as well as exposure to e-cigarette advertising. Therefore, prevention efforts targeting minority youth who are at risk of becoming e-cigarette initiators may benefit by incorporating these factors into prevention campaigns.


Electronic cigarettes; minority; nicotine; youth

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