E-cigarette use has dramatically increased. While studies have examined adolescents' attitudes towards smoking, few have extended this research to adolescents' attitudes towards e-cigarettes. The goal of this study was to examine adolescents' attitudes regarding e-cigarette ingredients, safety, addictive properties, social norms, accessibility, price, and regulation; and determine whether attitudes differ by past cigarette/e-cigarette use. Participants were 786 9th and 12th graders from California (63.21% females; mean age=16.10years [SD=1.6]; 26.61% White, 21.98% Asian/Pacific Islander, 29.82% Hispanic, and 21.59% other). Results indicated that 19.05% of participants believed smoke from e-cigarettes is water; 23.03% believed e-cigarettes aren't a tobacco product; 40.36% considered e-cigarettes to be for cessation, and 43.13% felt they were safer than cigarettes. Participants felt it was more acceptable to use e-cigarettes indoors and outdoors compared to cigarettes (p<0.0001), 23.13% felt raising e-cigarette taxes is a bad idea, 63.95% thought e-cigarettes were easier to get than cigarettes, 54.42% felt e-cigarettes cost too much, 64.33% felt the age for buying e-cigarettes should be raised, and 64.37% favored e-cigarette regulation. Adolescents who used e-cigarettes and/or cigarettes had significantly more favorable e-cigarette attitudes than non-users. This study indicates that adolescents are aware of some of the risks of e-cigarettes, although many harbor misperceptions and hold more favorable attitudes towards e-cigarettes than cigarettes. Of concern is the relationship between favorable e-cigarette attitudes and use. Findings suggest the need to provide adolescents with correct information about e-cigarette ingredients, risks, and the insufficient evidence of their role in cigarette cessation.
Keywords: Adolescent health; Adolescent perceptions; Adolescent substance use; E-cigarettes; Public health.
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