Objective: To test whether exposure and receptivity to e-cigarette marketing are associated with recent e-cigarette use among young adults through increased beliefs that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes.
Methods: Data were collected from 307 multiethnic 4- and 2-year college students; approximately equal proportions of current, never, and former cigarette smokers [mean age = 23.5 (SD = 5.5); 65% female].
Results: Higher receptivity to e-cigarette marketing was associated with perceptions that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, which in turn, were associated with higher recent e-cigarette use.
Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary support to the proposition that marketing of e-cigarettes as safer alternatives to cigarettes or cessation aids is associated with increased e-cigarette use among young adults. The findings have implications for development of e-cigarette regulations.