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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teenage Male Views of E-cigarettes

As e-cigarettes become more popular, especially among young adults and teenagers who tend to hold that the nicotine devices are a “healthier alternative” to traditional tobacco, many are left wondering about the facts and viewpoints surrounding the devices. A research study titled “The Social Norms and Beliefs of Teenage Male Electronic Cigarette Use,” was recently published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse (Routledge).

The study's focus was the social norms and beliefs of teenage male electronic cigarette users. 

“Much of our past research has been conducted on tobacco use among disparate populations, in particular African American males,” said Dr. Ronald Peters and Dr. Angela Meshack in a joint statement. “The present research is an extension of our previous work and began after getting anecdotal evidence from students with whom we work. They shared that they were beginning to use electronic cigarettes because they were novel and had high social approval among their peers.”

The study’s data comes from a sample of 47 males ages 15-17 years old who had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Researchers asked four open-ended questions to determine participants' subjective norms and beliefs related to e-cigarette use:
  • Why do youth use electronic cigarettes?
  • Where are places that you use electronic cigarettes?
  • What do your friends think about electronic cigarettes?
  • Why are electronic cigarettes so popular?
Among African American males, researchers were able to glean several norms about teenage e-cigarette use. Easy concealment and quick consumption were found to be the primary reasons for the desired usage. As well as high social approval, the respondents had the belief that the devices were healthier and more aesthetically pleasing than traditional forms of tobacco.

“The data uncovered in this research offer potential directions for larger qualitative and quantitative research studies related to e-cigarette use among youth,” explained the researchers. “We hope with future research to determine if e-cigarette use may serve as a gateway to other drugs just as traditional tobacco cigarettes have been identified and if the user experiences higher euphoric effects.”

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