E-cigarette perceptions, use frequency and susceptibility among young adults in Hong Kong
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New York University, Department of Population Health, United States of America
New York University, Rory Meyers College of Nursing, United States of America
The University of Hong Kong, School of Nursing, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong, School of Public Health, Hong Kong
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A278
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E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular. We examined perceptions of e-cigarettes, and their associations with e-cigarette use, frequency of use, and use susceptibility among young adults in Hong Kong.

An online survey was administered to 1,186 Hong Kong residents aged 18-35 in 2016-17. On a 0-10 visual scale, participants rated the perceived harm of e-cigarettes, perceived harm of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosols, and perceived addictiveness. An overall perception score was calculated by averaging the values of non-missing perception items. Multinomial logistic regression examined the relationship of the overall perception score with former and current e-cigarette use relative to never use, controlling for age, gender, education, place of birth, current cigarette smoking, and perceived popularity of e-cigarettes among peers. Bivariate exact logistic regression assessed the association between perceptions and frequency of e-cigarette use (“≥3 days” vs. “1-2 days” in past 30-day) among current users. Multivariate logistic regression assessed the relationship between perceptions and e-cigarette susceptibility among never users.

97.2% of participants were aware of e-cigarettes, and 16.1% had ever used e-cigarettes (11.3% former users; 4.8% current users). Of current e-cigarette users, 63.2% reported infrequent use. Among never users, 34.0% were susceptible to e-cigarette use. E-cigarettes were perceived as less harmful and less addictive than cigarettes, particularly among current cigarette smokers. Low overall perception score was associated with former and current e-cigarette use, frequent use, and use susceptibility. Current cigarette smoking and perceived higher popularity of e-cigarettes were also related to e-cigarette use. Current cigarette smoking was associated with e-cigarette susceptibility.

Continued surveillance on e-cigarette use is needed. Interventions must address the conceptions about e-cigarettes. Health communication messages emphasizing the harmful and addictive nature of e-cigarette use and secondhand exposure to e-cigarette aerosols, and health warning labels on e-cigarette packages may help reduce e-cigarette use in young people.

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