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Use by Friends and Family Predicts Teen E-cigarette Initiation

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Objective: In this study, I examined the relative influence of exposure to ads, household tobacco use, and friends' e-cigarette use on youth e-cigarette initiation. Methods: Middle and high school students (N = 3971) from 70 public schools completed the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey. I used logistic regression to determine the strength of association between e-cigarette initiation and exposure to advertising, household tobacco use, and peer e-cigarette use after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Results: One in 4 (25.9%) students reported having tried e-cigarettes. Students were more likely to report e-cigarette initiation if household members or close friends use e-cigarettes. E-cigarette initiation was 3.28 times more likely among students who lived with someone who uses e-cigarettes and 7.09 times more likely among students who reported all 4 of their closest friends use them. A greater share of students had tried e-cigarettes among those who reported exposure to e-cigarette ads compared to those who did not, but the association was not statistically significant after adjusting for other variables. Conclusions: Use by friends and family predicts youth e-cigarette initiation. Policies that can mitigate these social influences on e-cigarette initiation could help protect a new generation from nicotine addiction.
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Keywords: E-CIGARETTES; SOCIAL HEALTH ENVIRONMENT; TOBACCO INITIATION; TOBACCO POLICY; TOBACCO PREVENTION; YOUTH HEALTH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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