Young adults' favorable perceptions of snus, dissolvable tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes: findings from a focus group study

Am J Public Health. 2012 Nov;102(11):2088-93. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300525. Epub 2012 Jul 19.


Objectives: We explored young adults' perceptions of snus (spitless moist snuff packed in porous bags), dissolvable tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes and intention to try these products.

Methods: We conducted 11 focus group discussions involving a total of 66 young adults (18-26 years old) on these new tobacco products (e.g., harmfulness, potential as quit aids, intention to try) held between July and December 2010. We analyzed discussions using a thematic approach.

Results: Participants generally reported positive perceptions of the new products, particularly because they came in flavors. Few negative perceptions were reported. Although some participants believed these products were less harmful than cigarettes and helpful in quitting smoking, others thought the opposite, particularly regarding electronic cigarettes. Participants also commented that these products could be gateways to cigarette smoking. Half of the participants, including a mix of smokers and nonsmokers, admitted they would try these products if offered by a friend.

Conclusions: Young adults perceive the new tobacco products positively and are willing to experiment with them. Eliminating flavors in these products may reduce young adults' intentions to try these products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Tobacco Products* / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco, Smokeless* / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult