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Addict Behav. 2019 May;92:128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.12.005. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Youth perception of harm and addictiveness of tobacco products: Findings from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (Wave 1).

Author information

1
Cancer Prevention & Control Program, Moores Cancer Center University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Electronic address: dstrong@ucsd.edu.
2
Cancer Prevention & Control Program, Moores Cancer Center University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
3
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
4
Center for Tobacco Products, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA.
5
Tobacco Control Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA.
6
Division of Intramural Research, National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Bethesda, MD, USA.
7
Westat, Rockville, MD, USA.
8
Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Department of Health Behavior, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We provide a US national assessment of youth perceptions of the harm and addictiveness of six separate tobacco products, identifying a continuum of perceived harm associated with a range of products in relation to patterns of current use, former use, and susceptibility to use tobacco products.

METHODS:

We evaluated youth respondents (N = 13,651) ages 12-17 from Wave 1 (2013-2014) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study. Analyses (2015-2016) focused on refining measures of perceived harm for each product and delineating youth characteristics (demographic, tobacco use status) associated with beliefs about the harmfulness and addictiveness of tobacco products.

RESULTS:

Cigars, hookah and e-cigarettes were each perceived as having significantly lower harm (p's < 0.05) than smokeless products, with the lowest ratings of harmfulness and addictiveness observed for hookah and e-cigarettes (p's < 0.001). Incrementally lower levels of harm and addictiveness perceptions were observed among youth at increasing risk for tobacco use (p's < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Among U.S. youth, lower perceptions of harm and addictiveness of tobacco products were associated with susceptibility to use tobacco and patterns of tobacco product use. Future longitudinal assessments from the PATH Study can provide key information on youth development of perceptions of harm and addictiveness and influences on patterns of tobacco use.

KEYWORDS:

Tobacco addiction perception; Tobacco harm perceptions; Youth tobacco prevention

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