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Perceptions of E-Cigarettes among Black Youth in California

Prevention Research Institute, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 180 Grand Avenue., Suite 1200, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
Institute for Scientific Analysis, 1150 Ballena Blvd., Suite 211, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
Center for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 10, Building 1322, 334, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mark Wolfson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 60;
Received: 12 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue E-Cigarettes: Epidemiology, Policy and Public Health)
Research suggests that Black youth are less likely to use e-cigarettes than their white counterparts, yet little is known as to why. We examined perceptions of e-cigarettes among Black young adults (ages 18–25) to explore the meanings these youth ascribe to e-cigarettes and the role that identity plays in how these devices are viewed. Analysis of in-depth interviews with 36 Black smokers and non-smokers in the San Francisco Bay Area suggests that Black youth perceive e-cigarettes as serving distinct, yet overlapping roles: a utilitarian function, in that they are recognized as legitimate smoking cessation tools, and a social function, insofar as they serve to mark social identity, specifically a social identity from which our participants disassociated. Participants described e-cigarette users in highly racialized and classed terms and generally expressed disinterest in using e-cigarettes, due in part perhaps to the fact that use of these devices would signal alignment with a middle class, hipster identity. This analysis is discussed within a highly charged political and public health debate about the benefits and harms associated with e-cigarette use. View Full-Text
Keywords: ENDS; Black youth; cultural commodity; identity ENDS; Black youth; cultural commodity; identity
MDPI and ACS Style

Hess, C.A.; Antin, T.M.J.; Annechino, R.; Hunt, G. Perceptions of E-Cigarettes among Black Youth in California. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 60.

AMA Style

Hess CA, Antin TMJ, Annechino R, Hunt G. Perceptions of E-Cigarettes among Black Youth in California. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017; 14(1):60.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hess, Catherine A.; Antin, Tamar M.J.; Annechino, Rachelle; Hunt, Geoffrey. 2017. "Perceptions of E-Cigarettes among Black Youth in California" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 14, no. 1: 60.

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