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Exposure to Negative News Stories About Vaping, and Harm Perceptions of Vaping, Among Youth in England, Canada, and the United States Before and After the Outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury ('EVALI')

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Katherine East, Jessica L. Reid, Robin Burkhalter, Olivia A. Wackowski, James F. Thrasher, Harry Tattan-Birch, Christian Boudreau, Maansi Bansal-Travers, Alex C. Liber, Ann McNeill, David Hammond

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1395
Number of pages10
JournalNicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
Published1 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by a P01 Grant (1P01CA200512) from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additional support was provided by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)–Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Applied Public Health Research Chair (DH). The February 2020 Wave of the ITC Youth Tobacco and Vaping Survey was funded by a contribution from Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). KE is the recipient of Fellowship funding from the UK Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA). KE and AM also acknowledge support from Cancer Research UK (RE12936). Contributions by OAW were supported in part by the NIH (R37CA222002) Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

King's Authors

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the international impact of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury ('EVALI') on youth perceptions of vaping harms. METHODS: Repeat cross-sectional online surveys of youth aged 16-19 years in England, Canada, and the United States before (2017, 2018), during (2019 August/September), and after (2020 February/March, 2020 August) the 'EVALI' outbreak (N = 63380). Logistic regressions assessed trends, country differences, and associations between exposure to negative news stories about vaping and vaping harm perceptions. RESULTS: Exposure to negative news stories increased between 2017 and February-March 2020 in England (12.6% to 34.2%), Canada (16.7% to 56.9%), and the United States (18.0% to 64.6%), accelerating during (2019) and immediately after (February-March 2020) the outbreak (p < .001) before returning to 2019 levels by August 2020. Similarly, the accurate perception that vaping is less harmful than smoking declined between 2017 and February-March 2020 in England (77.3% to 62.2%), Canada (66.3% to 43.3%), and the United States (61.3% to 34.0%), again accelerating during and immediately after the outbreak (p < .001). The perception that vaping takes less than a year to harm users' health and worry that vaping will damage health also doubled over this period (p ≤ .001). Time trends were most pronounced in the United States. Exposure to negative news stories predicted the perception that vaping takes less than a year to harm health (Adjusted Odds Ratio = 1.55, 1.48-1.61) and worry that vaping will damage health (Adjusted Odds Ratio = 1.32, 1.18-1.48). CONCLUSIONS: Between 2017 and February-March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after 'EVALI'. Effects were seen in all countries but were most pronounced in the United States. IMPLICATIONS: This is the first study examining changes in exposure to news stories about vaping, and perceptions of vaping harms, among youth in England, Canada, and the United States before, during, and after 'EVALI'. Between 2017 and February-March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after 'EVALI'. By August 2020, exposure to negative news stories returned to 2019 levels, while perceptions of harm were sustained. Exposure to negative news stories also predicted two of the three harm perception measures. Overall, findings suggest that 'EVALI' may have exacerbated youth's perceptions of vaping harms internationally.

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