Use and perception of electronic cigarettes among college students

J Am Coll Health. 2013;61(3):149-55. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.776052.


Objective: This study provides insight into how electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may affect the social normative environment for tobacco use among college students.

Participants: Participants were 244 freshman and sophomore students.

Methods: Students completed an online self-report survey in April 2011.

Results: There is a higher acceptance rate of e-cigarette smoking in public than traditional tobacco. For intention to use an e-cigarette, the strongest predictor is current tobacco use, followed by a positive orientation toward public use of e-cigarettes. Positive orientation toward public use of e-cigarettes is significantly predicted by the use of alternate tobacco, intention to use or try e-cigarettes, positive orientation toward public use of tobacco, positive attitude toward e-cigarettes, positive perception of social norms for use of e-cigarettes, and favorable orientation toward e-cigarettes as an innovation.

Conclusions: These models suggest attitudinal, social normative, innovation, and behavioral factors may combine to bring the e-cigarette into wider use among college students.

Keywords: attitudes; diffusion of innovations; electronic cigarettes; smoking laws; social norms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / adverse effects
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / psychology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Smoke-Free Policy / trends
  • Social Norms
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities / trends
  • Young Adult