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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 655; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070655

Smokers’ and E-Cigarette Users’ Perceptions about E-Cigarette Warning Statements

1
Center for Tobacco Studies, Rutgers School of Public Health, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
2
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
3
Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA
4
Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchourwou
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 9 June 2016 / Accepted: 21 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [277 KB, uploaded 30 June 2016]

Abstract

Cigarette warning labels are important sources of risk information, but warning research for other tobacco products is limited. This study aimed to gauge perceptions about warnings that may be used for e-cigarettes. We conducted six small focus groups in late 2014/early 2015 with adult current e-cigarette users and cigarette-only smokers. Participants rated and discussed their perceptions of six e-cigarette warning statements, and warnings in two existing Vuse and MarkTen e-cigarette ads. Participants were open to e-cigarette warnings and provided the strongest reactions to statements warning that e-liquid/e-vapor or e-cigarettes can be poisonous, contain toxins, or are “not a safe alternative to smoking”. However, many also noted that these statements were exaggerated, potentially misleading, and could scare smokers away from reducing their harm by switching to e-cigarettes. Opinions on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed nicotine addiction warning and warnings that e-cigarettes had not been approved for smoking cessation or had unknown health effects were mixed. Participants perceived MarkTen’s advertisement warning to be stronger and more noticeable than Vuse’s. Care should be taken in developing e-cigarette warnings given their relative recentness and potential for harm reduction compared to other tobacco products. Additional research, including with varied audiences, would be instructive. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-cigarettes; warnings; risk communication; health communication; risk perceptions e-cigarettes; warnings; risk communication; health communication; risk perceptions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wackowski, O.A.; Hammond, D.; O’Connor, R.J.; Strasser, A.A.; Delnevo, C.D. Smokers’ and E-Cigarette Users’ Perceptions about E-Cigarette Warning Statements. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 655.

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