Aerosol, vapor, or chemicals? College student perceptions of harm from electronic cigarettes and support for a tobacco-free campus policy

Matthew E. Rossheim, Xiaoquan Zhao, Eric K. Soule, Dennis L. Thombs, Sumihiro Suzuki, Asra Ahmad, Tracey E. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: This study is the first to examine the influence of e-cigarette emission phrasing on perceived harm of secondhand exposure, and whether harm perception was associated with support for a tobacco-free campus policy. Participants: In the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters, 52 sections of a college English course (N = 791 students) were cluster randomized to one of three conditions (“vapor,” “aerosol,” or “chemicals”) assessing harm of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions. Methods: Regression models adjusted for demographic characteristics, tobacco use, and other potential confounders. Results: Compared to the “vapor” condition, “chemicals” and “aerosol” conditions were associated with increased odds of perceiving secondhand exposure to e-cigarettes to be harmful/very harmful (AOR = 2.0, p < 0.01). Greater perceived harm of secondhand e-cigarette exposure was associated with increased odds of supporting a tobacco-free campus policy (AOR = 2.22, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Health campaigns should use accurate terminology to describe e-cigarette emissions, rather than jargon that conveys lower risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of American College Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • College students
  • electronic cigarette (ECIG)
  • electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)
  • tobacco policy
  • tobacco-related harm perceptions

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