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Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Perception Differences of Rural Male Youth

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Objectives: We compared cigarette and smokeless tobacco (ST) perceptions in a youth population where ST use is common. Methods: Male baseball players (N = 594) at 36 rural high schools in California rated separately 20 potential risks or benefits associated with cigarettes or ST, along with global harm ratings. Informed by principal components analysis, 3 composite categories were created: oral/rule-breaking risks (eg, mouth cancer, getting in trouble), systemic risks (eg, heart attack), and benefits (eg, relaxation). Standardized composite scores and harm ratings were compared by product and by tobacco use status. Results: Cigarettes were perceived as likely to impart oral/rule-breaking risks and systemic risks, unlikely to cause benefits, and as very harmful overall. ST was perceived similarly to cigarettes regarding oral/rule-breaking risks, but less likely to cause systemic risks, and more beneficial. Most participants rated cigarettes as more harmful than ST. Similar patterns existed in all tobacco use groups, including non-users and dual-users. Conclusions: In this population, cigarettes were perceived as very harmful. ST was perceived similarly to cigarettes only for some risks and as less harmful overall. Communication for rural adolescents should consider multifaceted aspects of ST risk.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2018

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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