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Electronic Cigarette Harm and Benefit Perceptions and Use Among Youth

      Introduction

      The purpose of this study is to examine adolescent perceptions of harms and benefits associated with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and their associations with use.

      Methods

      Data from the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey were analyzed in 2017. Participants who were in high school aged 14–17 years were included (n=22,884). Logistic regression analyses were used to compare e-cigarette use groups on perceived harms and benefits of e-cigarettes.

      Results

      Less than one half of the sample reported that e-cigarettes are harmful to their health and less than two thirds reported that individuals can get addicted to e-cigarettes. Compared with committed never users, susceptible never users and all e-cigarette use groups were less likely to report that e-cigarettes were harmful to their health, people can get addicted to e-cigarettes, and that smoke from others’ e-cigarettes were harmful. Furthermore, susceptible never users and all use groups were more likely to report that it would be easy to quit using e-cigarettes than committed never users. Susceptible never users and all use groups were also more likely to perceive benefits of e-cigarette use including having more friends, looking cool or fitting in, feeling more comfortable in social situations, and stress relief compared with committed never users.

      Conclusions

      Youth who are susceptible to use, currently use, or have used e-cigarettes are less likely to report harms and more likely to perceive benefits associated with e-cigarette use compared with committed never users. Addressing harm and benefit perceptions may be important for interventions designed to reduce e-cigarette use among adolescents.
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