RESEARCH PAPER
E-cigarette use and perceived health change: Better health through vaping?
Joy L. Hart 1, 2  
,  
Kandi L. Walker 1, 2,  
Clara G. Sears 1, 2,  
Alexander S. Lee 1, 2,  
 
 
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1
Department of Communication, University of Louisville, Louisville, United States
2
AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center, Dallas, United States
3
College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, United States
4
School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, United States
Publish date: 2018-10-10
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(October):48
KEYWORDS:
TOPICS:
ABSTRACT:
Introduction:
As e-cigarette use increases, questions about individual and public health effects remain unanswered (e.g. cessation tool, addiction path). Despite increasing use, few studies have focused on vape shop patrons. This study examined whether vape shop patrons believe their health is affected by the use of e-cigs; more specifically, the aim was to evaluate the association between e-cig use, change in tobacco use, and perception of health.

Methods:
A survey of e-cig users (N=78) was conducted in vape shops. Questions included e-cig and traditional tobacco use, health perceptions, and demographics. Descriptive techniques were used to characterize participants as either those who perceived e-cig use improved their health or those who perceived their health unaffected. Logistic regression assessed the association between change in tobacco use, e-cig use, and perception of health effects.

Results:
Most reported daily e-cig (91%) and current (11.5%) or former (78.2%) combustible cigarette use. Approximately, three-fourths (76.9%) perceived better health; the remainder (23.1%) perceived unaffected health. Change in cigarette use was significantly associated with perceptions that health is better with e-cig use. Participants who decreased cigarette use by 2–3 cartons/month and more than 3 cartons/month were significantly more likely to indicate that e-cig use has improved their health compared to those who decreased tobacco use by 1.5 cartons or fewer per month (OR=4.35, 95% CI: 1.13–16.9; OR=25.67, 95% CI: 2.97–221.7, respectively).

Conclusions:
The majority of e-cig users perceived better health. Our findings suggest that health campaign designers should carefully assess the scientific uncertainty surrounding the use of these devices and consider means to clearly convey this information. Given the lack of scientific agreement on the health effects of e-cigs and the important role that perceptions play in behavior, health campaign designers, health education practitioners, policy makers, and health care providers should err on the side of caution when advising individuals about e-cig use.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Joy L. Hart   
Department of Communication, University of Louisville, 310 Strickler Hall, UofL, 40292 Louisville, United States
 
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