An increasing number of economic studies show that how smokers perceive e-cigarette harm can influence their behavior when they consider quitting or switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes. Risk perception can also foreshadow young smokers’ behavior when choosing between combustible cigarettes or e-cigarettes, neither, or both. The link between risk perception and smoking behavior is an important topic for future study, and it may be particularly useful in designing public health messaging strategies.
In their working paper, Dhaval Dave and his colleagues examine the evolution of e-cigarette risk perception in US adults and youth during the 2019 e-cigarette, or vaping, use-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak. (To learn more about EVALI facts and figures, read Michael Paskow’s blog post here.) Their study traces the transformation of risk perception across different age groups as public health messaging campaigns changed. Early in the EVALI outbreak, smokers faced an ‘information shock’ as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued warnings against all e-cigarette use. As the outbreak subsided, however, these warnings were refined to advise more specifically against e-cigarettes that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and were purchased from unauthorized sellers.
The authors argue that risk perceptions of new products like e-cigarettes will exhibit variability, uncertainty, and sensitivity as individuals change their beliefs in response to new information from both government and media sources. Their analysis determined that smokers with an initially low level of e-cigarette risk perception were more influenced by the initial flood of information than smokers who started out with higher levels of risk perception. After the CDC refined its warnings to vaping products with THC, all smokers exhibited decreased levels of risk perception. However, risk perception did not revert to pre-EVALI levels for either gender. And after the outbreak, there were almost 14% more smokers who believed that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were more harmful than combustible cigarettes.
Dave and his colleagues maintain that the CDC’s initial recommendations were consistent with the precautionary principal of protecting public health against any unforeseen consequences of the outbreak. But if the CDC had provided more targeted advice about the risks of THC-containing e-cigarettes early in the outbreak, it could have more effectively limited the use of these products — and potentially curtailed the EVALI outbreak more efficiently. As we continue to examine the US EVALI outbreak, tools like the Signal Analytics platform for early detection of EVALI may also prove useful in future outbreak response.
Future research will reveal any unintended consequences of implementing the precautionary principal in CDC warnings. It will explain further whether this messaging increased rates of combustible cigarette consumption among the youth. By enhancing the focus and specificity of their messaging campaigns, US government agencies can work to enhance long-term, positive impacts on public health, and on smoking behaviors across the globe.
It's time for America to reclaim its role in global health leadership - https://bit.ly/3oXnGp3
Important message @UN @unfoundation but vital that #globalhealth does not revert to being focused only on #infections A huge preventive potential exists thru ending smoking, promoting activity & healthy diets, with better mental health. https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/20/welcome-back-to-the-global-health-stage-america-you-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do/
After 2 years of implementation, @WHO has not produced a report on their #tobaccocontrol acceleration plan. In a @smokefreefdn blog post, @ehsanlatif writes, “We needn’t accept bureaucratic inaction & in fact, we have a moral imperative to demand change.” https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/761266-uneven-implementation-of-fctc-articles-impeding-tobacco-control
In response to the @WHO's recent report on the Tenth Meeting of the WHO Group on Tobacco Regulation, @SmokeFreeFdn developed an analysis with support from experts in the field of #TobaccoCessation and #HarmReduction and shared with stakeholders.
#Inequality of access to aids that can improve health is a subject that must be addressed in 2021. "The disproportionate marketing of the riskiest tobacco products in socially and economically disadvantaged communities is particularly troubling.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30452712/
#Inequality in the @FCTCofficial’s #tobaccocontrol approach neglects the needs of 3 subgroups
1. People with #mentalhealth conditions
2. The Rainbow community
3. #Indigenous populations.
This analysis explores the ways these groups have been left behind:
Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates