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The Role of Knowledge and Risk Beliefs in Adolescent E-Cigarette Use: A Pilot Study

School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carroll Hall, CB 3365, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 830;
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
PDF [322 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


The use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices among adolescents is an urgent public health problem due to the concern about adolescent exposure to nicotine. This study examined: (1) adolescents’ knowledge and beliefs about e-cigarette risks; and (2) whether knowledge and risk beliefs were associated with e-cigarette use. N = 69 adolescents completed a cross-sectional survey about e-cigarette knowledge, attitudes (i.e., risk beliefs), and behavior (KAB). Nearly half (47%) of the sample reported ever using e-cigarettes. The majority of adolescents knew about many of the risks of e-cigarettes, with no differences between never- and ever-users. However, risk beliefs, such as worrying about health risks of using e-cigarettes, varied across groups. Compared to never-users, e-cigarette ever-users were significantly less likely to worry about e-cigarette health risks, less likely to think that e-cigarettes would cause them negative health consequences, and less likely to believe that e-cigarette use would lead to addiction. In a multivariable logistic regression, prior combustible cigarette use, mother’s education, and addiction risk beliefs about e-cigarettes emerged as significant predictors of adolescents’ e-cigarette use. This study reveals that while knowledge is not associated with adolescent e-cigarette use, risk beliefs do predict use. View Full-Text
Keywords: e-cigarette; vaping; knowledge; beliefs e-cigarette; vaping; knowledge; beliefs
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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Rohde, J.A.; Noar, S.M.; Horvitz, C.; Lazard, A.J.; Cornacchione Ross, J.; Sutfin, E.L. The Role of Knowledge and Risk Beliefs in Adolescent E-Cigarette Use: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 830.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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