Objective: To explore risk perceptions of traditional and nontraditional tobacco products (NTPs) among young adult smokers.
Methods: Focus groups with African Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics. Risk ratings of light, regular, and menthol cigarettes and of NTPs and marijuana and cigarettes were compared.
Results: Participants tended to view light cigarettes as safer than regular cigarettes. Shisha and herbal products were rated as safer than traditional cigarettes, but there were differences in ratings by race/ethnicity, related to preferred cigarette variety.
Conclusions: Health communication messages about the use of cigarettes and NTPs should consider risk perceptions about the products and racial/ethnic differences.