Appalachian youth e-cigarette harm perceptions and tobacco use

Delvon T. Mattingly, Joy L. Hart*, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Kandi L. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION E-cigarettes are the most popular tobacco product among youth. Although harm perceptions have been linked to youth e-cigarette use, little research focuses on vulnerable populations, such as Appalachian youth. This study examines associations between e-cigarette harm perceptions and tobacco use among a sample of Appalachian youth. METHODS Using data from the 2014-2016 Youth Appalachian Tobacco Study (n=1074), distributions of six e-cigarette harm perceptions by tobacco use (never, ever non-e-cigarette, ever e-cigarette) were examined, and multivariable multinomial logistic regression was used. RESULTS Nearly one-fourth (23.4%) of the sample were ever e-cigarette users. More e-cigarette users were male (53.4%) and in high school (57.0%). Fewer e-cigarette users strongly agreed that e-cigarettes cause health problems (15.1%), breathing problems (20.3%), and oral health problems (18.7%) and that e-cigarettes are addictive (25.1%), compared to never and non-e-cigarette users. More e-cigarette users strongly agreed (32.3%) that e-cigarettes are healthier alternatives to cigarettes compared to never (24.1%) and non-e-cigarette (25.7%) users. Regression models indicate that e-cigarette users had greater odds of strongly disagreeing with e-cigarettes being harmful or addictive, compared to never users. E-cigarette users had approximately six-fold odds of strongly disagreeing with e-cigarettes causing health problems (OR=6.12; 95% CI: 3.16-11.90) and two times greater odds of disagreeing with e-cigarettes being addictive (OR=2.09; 95% CI: 1.07-4.08) compared to never users. CONCLUSIONS Appalachian youth ever e-cigarette users perceive e-cigarettes as less harmful and less addictive compared to never users. Better informing youth, especially youth tobacco users, of the harms associated with e-cigarettes is vital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalPopulation Medicine
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Appalachia
  • e-cigarettes
  • harm perceptions
  • tobacco
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Epidemiology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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