How risky is it to use e-cigarettes? Smokers’ beliefs about their health risks from using novel and traditional tobacco products

Jessica K. Pepper*, Sherry L. Emery, Kurt M. Ribisl, Christine Marie Rini, Noel T. Brewer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

We sought to understand smokers’ perceived likelihood of health problems from using cigarettes and four non-cigarette tobacco products (NCTPs: e-cigarettes, snus, dissolvable tobacco, and smokeless tobacco). A US national sample of 6,607 adult smokers completed an online survey in March 2013. Participants viewed e-cigarette use as less likely to cause lung cancer, oral cancer, or heart disease compared to smoking regular cigarettes (all p < .001). This finding was robust for all demographic groups. Participants viewed using NCTPs other than e-cigarettes as more likely to cause oral cancer than smoking cigarettes but less likely to cause lung cancer. The dramatic increase in e-cigarette use may be due in part to the belief that they are less risky to use than cigarettes, unlike the other NCTPs. Future research should examine trajectories in perceived likelihood of harm from e-cigarette use and whether they affect regular and electronic cigarette use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems
  • Health behavior
  • Risk perceptions
  • Tobacco products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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