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Tob Regul Sci. 2016 Jul;2(3):278-289. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

Flavorings and Perceived Harm and Addictiveness of E-cigarettes among Youth.

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1
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Public Health, Austin Campus, Austin, TX.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Given the increasing trend in use of electronic cigarettes ("e-cigarettes") among youth, it is crucial to understand how these products are perceived and how these perceptions are associated with their decision whether or not to use them.

METHODS:

This is a cross-sectional analysis of data from a rapid response surveillance system of 6th, 8th and 10th grade students' tobacco use behaviors (sample [n] = 3704 from a population of students [N] = 434,601). We used weighted logistic regression models to investigate the relationship between perceptions of harm and addictiveness and e-cigarette use, including the use of flavored and non-flavored e-cigarettes.

RESULTS:

Compared to youth who did not use e-cigarettes, ever and current e-cigarette users had higher odds of reporting that e-cigarettes were "not at all harmful" to health and "not at all addictive." Ever and current e-cigarette users had higher odds of reporting that flavored e-cigarettes were "less harmful" than non-flavored e-cigarettes, compared to youth who did not use e-cigarettes.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings warrant attention given that nicotine is an addictive substance whose effects on the adolescent brain are potentially negative. Youth e-cigarette users perceived lower harm from flavored e-cigarettes, which is worrisome given emerging research documenting harmful constituents in certain e-cigarette flavorings.

KEYWORDS:

adolescents; e-cigarettes; risk perceptions

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