Racial/ethnic differences in electronic cigarette knowledge, social norms, and risk perceptions among current and former smokers

Monica W Hooper, Stephanie K. Kolar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Psychosocial factors that may affect electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) initiation or maintenance among racial/ethnic minorities are not well-understood. This study examined racial/ethnic differences in e-cigarette knowledge, risk perceptions, and social norms among current and former smokers. Individuals with a tobacco smoking history and an awareness of e-cigarettes (N = 285) were recruited from the community from June to August 2014. Telephone-administered surveys assessed demographics, smoking status, and e-cigarette knowledge, risk perceptions, and normative beliefs. Analyses of covariance and multinomial logistic regression tested associations by race/ethnicity. Controlling for sociodemographics and smoking status, White participants scored significantly higher on e-cigarette knowledge, compared to both Hispanics and African Americans/Blacks. Knowledge was lower among African Americans/Blacks compared to Hispanics. Compared to both Whites and Hispanics, African American/Black participants held lower perceptions regarding e-cigarette health risks and were less likely to view e-cigarettes as addictive. Normative beliefs did not differ by race/ethnicity. In conclusion, e-cigarette knowledge, health risk perceptions, and perceived addictiveness differed by race/ethnicity. The variation in e-cigarette knowledge and beliefs among smokers and former smokers has implications for use, and potentially, dual use. Understanding these relationships in unrepresented populations can inform future research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-91
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • E-cigarette
  • Knowledge
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Risk perceptions
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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