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Perceived benefits of e-cigarettes may lead to higher experimentation rates
Date:1/7/2014

Ann Arbor, MI, January 7, 2014 Despite years of anti-smoking education and legislation, tobacco use still remains an important public health issue in the United States. In 2010, 25.2% of all adults and 35.6% of young adults reported current tobacco use. While anti-tobacco efforts continue across the county, the introduction of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has been marketed as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and also as a smoking cessation aid.

E-cigarettes supply nicotine through inhaled water vapor. While the addictiveness and long-term effects of using e-cigarettes as a nicotine delivery system are unknown, many people anecdotally believe that they are safer than traditional tobacco products. According to a new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the belief that e-cigarettes pose less of a health risk may lead to increased experimentation with e-cigarettes among young adults.

Investigators from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota looked at whether or not there was a relationship between perceived notions about the harmfulness of e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes and subsequent e-cigarette use among young adults. Investigators surveyed 1379 participants from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort who had never used e-cigarettes. The initial baseline survey explored their opinions about e-cigarettes and their effect on health relative to cigarettes or their usefulness as an aid to stop smoking. Then, a follow-up survey conducted one year later asked participants if they had experimented with e-cigarettes.

"Participants who agreed e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and those who agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes were more likely than those who did not agree to subsequently report experimenting with e-cigarettes. These associations did not vary by gender or smoking status," says study le
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Contact: Angela J. Beck
ajbeck@umich.edu
734-764-8775
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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