“The Social Norms and Beliefs of Teenage Male Electronic Cigarette Use,” a research study published in Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse (Routledge), delves into the social norms and beliefs of teenage male electronic cigarette users. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery operated inhalation devices that provide warm, vaporized nicotine to users without the inconvenience of tobacco smoke. Often marketed as a “healthier alternative,” e-cigarettes have filled shelves of convenience stores and have been used much more frequently in public spaces since their inception in late 2011.
“Much of our past research has been conducted on tobacco use among disparate populations, in particular African American males,” said Dr. Ronald Peters and Dr. Angela Meshack in a joint statement. “The present research is an extension of our previous work and began after getting anecdotal evidence from students with whom we work. They shared that they were beginning to use electronic cigarettes because they were novel and had high social approval among their peers.”
To conduct the research, a sample of 47 males ages 15-17 years participated in focus groups. They were identified as “e-cigarette users” based upon their responses to a question that asked if they had used an e-cigarette in the previous 30 days. Four open-ended questions were asked to identify participants’ subjective norms and beliefs related to e-cigarette use: (a) Why do youth use electronic cigarettes?; (b) Where are places that you use electronic cigarettes?; (c) What do your friends think about electronic cigarettes?; and (d) Why are electronic cigarettes so popular?
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