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Subst Use Misuse. 2017 Jul 3;52(8):982-991. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1268628. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

Beliefs About the Direct Comparison of E-Cigarettes and Cigarettes.

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a Department of Psychology , Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis , Indiana , USA.



Recent data suggests that positive beliefs about electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) use can lead to later e-cig use. Considering that many advertisements claim that e-cigs are superior to cigarettes, individuals' likelihood to view e-cigs more favorably than cigarettes can also influence subsequent e-cig use; however, no studies have directly assessed such a comparison.


The present study created and validated the Comparing E-Cigarettes and Cigarettes questionnaire (CEAC), which asks individuals to directly compare e-cigs and cigarettes on a number of dimensions, in two independent samples.


In sample 1 (451 undergraduates; mean age = 20.35, SD = 5.44, 72.4% female, 73.4% Caucasian) we explored the factor structure of the CEAC and in sample 2 (699 community adults collected via Amazon's Mechanical Turk; mean age = 34.04, SD = 10.9, 47.7% female, 83.3% Caucasian) we replicated the factor structure.


Exploratory factor analysis suggested a three-factor structure: General Benefits (α = 0.80), General Effects (α = 0.86), and Health Benefits (α = 0.88), which was replicated via confirmatory factor analysis, χ2 = 4.36; RMSEA = 0.07, 90% CI = 0.06-0.08; TLI = 0.99; CFI = 0.99, and was relatively invariant across product use and gender. Individuals reported viewing e-cigs as safer and more beneficial than cigarettes and these beliefs were higher in e-cig users.


Future work should establish how these comparative beliefs are influenced by e-cig use and/or influence subsequent transition to and increases in e-cig use. Although e-cigs are likely less harmful than cigarettes, and thus these comparative beliefs represent that state of nature, e-cigs are not completely without risk.


Electronic-cigarettes; attitudes; cigarettes; public health; smoking

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