Social Interactions as a Source of Information about E-Cigarettes: A Study of U.S. Adult Smokers
The novelty of e-cigarettes and ambiguity about their effects may foster informal sharing of information, such as through social interactions. We aimed to describe smokers' social interactions about e-cigarettes and their recommendations that others use e-cigarettes. Data were collected from 2149 adult smokers in North Carolina and California who participated in a study of the impact of pictorial cigarette pack warnings. In the previous month, almost half of participants (45%) reported talking to at least one person about e-cigarettes and nearly a third of participants (27%) recommended e-cigarettes to someone else. Smokers recommended e-cigarettes to cut back on smoking (57%), to quit smoking (48%), for health reasons (36%), and for fun (27%). In adjusted analyses, more frequent e-cigarette use, positive views about typical e-cigarette users, and attempting to quit smoking in the past month were associated with recommending e-cigarettes for health reasons (all p < 0.05). Social interactions appear to be a popular method of information-sharing about e-cigarettes among smokers. Health communication campaigns may help to fill in the gaps of smokers' understanding of e-cigarettes and their long-term effects.