Exposure to Advertising and Perception, Interest, and Use of E-Cigarettes Among Adolescents: Findings from the U.S. National Youth Tobacco Survey
Objective. US adolescents are exposed to high levels of advertisements for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). This study aimed to examine the associations between exposure to e-cigarette advertisements and perception, interest, and use of e-cigarettes among US middle school and high school students.
Methods. Data from the 2014 cross-sectional National Youth Tobacco Survey were used. Logistic regressions were conducted to model four outcomes, including perception of reduced harmfulness compared to regular cigarettes, perception of reduced addictiveness, intention to use, and current use of e-cigarettes. Main predictors were exposure to e-cigarette advertisements via four sources, including Internet, newspaper/magazines, retail stores, and TV.
Results. When all the four sources of e-cigarette advertisements exposure were evaluated jointly, exposure via the Internet was associated with elevated likelihood of reporting all four outcomes related to e-cigarettes, while exposure via retail stores was associated with higher likelihood of current e-cigarette use and perception of reduced harmfulness of e-cigarettes compared to regular cigarettes (p < .05). However, exposure via newspaper/magazines and TV was associated with lower likelihood of perceiving e-cigarettes to be less harmful or addictive (p < .05).
Conclusion. Exposure to e-cigarette advertisements via the Internet and retail stores may play a significant role in adolescents’ use and perception of e-cigarettes. The results call for more research on the influence of different sources of advertising exposure on e-cigarette use to help public health programmes curtail the fast growing use of e-cigarette products among youth.