Prevalence and correlates of nicotine and nicotine product perceptions in U.S. young adults, 2016

Andrea C. Villanti, Shelly Naud, Julia C. West, Jennifer L. Pearson, Olivia A. Wackowski, Raymond S. Niaura, Elizabeth Hair, Jessica M. Rath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Nicotine is not a human carcinogen and combustion compounds in tobacco smoke, rather than nicotine, cause tobacco-related cardiovascular disease. Few recent studies examine the public's beliefs about nicotine in relation to smoking. Methods: Participants aged 18-40 (n = 4,091) in Wave 10 (Fall 2016) of the Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort Study responded to nineteen items on nicotine and nicotine product perceptions, including addictiveness and health harms of nicotine patch/gum and e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes. Analyses conducted in 2018 examined prevalence of perceptions and sociodemographic and tobacco use correlates of selected perceptions. Results: The majority of young adults reported that nicotine was responsible for a “relatively” or “very large” part of the health risks (66%) and cancer (60%) caused by smoking. More than half of young adults (55%) believed that nicotine is a cause of cancer. Between 23% and 43% of young adults responded “don't know” to items on nicotine. Females, blacks, Hispanics, and those with less than some college education were more likely to report true or “don't know” vs. false to “nicotine is a cause of cancer” and had higher odds of believing that nicotine was responsible for a “relatively” or “very large” part of the health risks of smoking and cancer caused by smoking. Past 30-day tobacco users had lower odds of reporting these beliefs. Conclusions: Misperceptions of nicotine are widespread in young adults. Public education is needed to maximize the public health impact of FDA's required nicotine warning label and proposed nicotine reduction policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106020
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Nicotine
  • harm perceptions
  • reduced nicotine content
  • smoking
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Villanti, A. C., Naud, S., West, J. C., Pearson, J. L., Wackowski, O. A., Niaura, R. S., Hair, E., & Rath, J. M. (2019). Prevalence and correlates of nicotine and nicotine product perceptions in U.S. young adults, 2016. Addictive Behaviors, 98, [106020]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.06.009