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Electronic cigarette use following a campus-wide ban

Longitudinal data on young adults suggests that electronic cigarettes have been the main form of tobacco use in this population since 2014. Given this trend, many college campuses have banned tobacco, including smokeless and non-combustible tobacco products.

A recent study observed a college campus that banned tobacco from its premises. The initial survey was completed on 2013, one year before the ban, and three other surveys were administered in the three years following the ban. These surveys collected data on student tobacco use and their perceptions of harmfulness of combustible and electronic cigarettes.

The results of these surveys showed that over the course of the study, e-cigarette use became more prevalent. This was seen more strongly in males compared to females. As far as combustible cigarette use, students in 2015 and 2016 were less likely to have ever used combustible cigarettes compared to those before the tobacco ban.

These students were also asked about their perception of the harmfulness of the tobacco products. The data showed that in the years after the ban, perceived harmfulness of both electronic and combustible cigarettes remained stable. Overall, a campus wide ban does not have effect on students continuing to experiment with e-cigarettes and their perception of harm associated with doing so.

Take Away: Even years following a tobacco ban, students continue to increasingly use e-cigarettes. Students’ perception of harm from using combustible and electronic cigarettes did not change following the ban.

Tags: e-cigarette, vape, college

Leavens, E.L., Lechner, W.V., Stevens, E.M., Miller, M.B., Meier, E. (2019) Electronic cigarette and combustible cigarette use following a campus-wide ban: Prevalence of use and harm perceptions. American College Health. doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2018.1551803.

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