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An E-cigarette by Many Other Names: How Users Describe and Categorize ENDS

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Objectives: We explored the language of adult ENDS users and examined if and how language differs by primary device type. Methods: In 2016, we conducted 23 focus groups in 4 US cities with a total of 156 participants who were current adult ENDS users. We segmented the groups by primary ENDS device type (eg, "tank," "cigalike"). Data were triangulated from 3 sources: responses to an open-ended question on a pre-discussion questionnaire, group discussion on terms used to describe ENDS, and an ENDS device image sorting task. Results: When asked to write-in "the type of electronic nicotine product" they used most often, cigalike users commonly supplied brand names (eg, "blu") or used "e-cigarette" (or derivation). Tank users, on the other hand, reported a more diverse set of terms, including e-cigarette, tank, and vape. During the device image sorting task, focus group participants almost always were able to agree on a label, and there was a high level of consensus across groups. Conclusions: Findings suggest that although adult ENDS users may vary in their preferred terms for their device, they agree on general terms to describe device categories. Understanding the terms used by consumers is important for informing survey items and other ENDS research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 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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