HealthDay News — For youth, the perceived risks of electronic cigarette products vary with demographics, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Health Promotion Practice.

Thanh-Huyen T. Vu, M.D., Ph.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined how demographic factors and socioeconomic status correlate with the perceived health risks of e-cigarette products. Data were obtained from a national online survey of youth aged 13 to 18 years, including 1,549 e-cigarette users and 1,451 never users of e-cigarettes.

The researchers found that perceived health risks of nicotine and toxins/chemicals in e-cigarettes differed significantly by gender, race, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, with adjustment for e-cigarette use status. The adjusted odds of perceiving harm from nicotine were 60 percent higher in girls than boys; 40 percent higher in lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer than straight-identifying adolescents; and 34, 33, and 28 percent lower in non-Hispanic blacks versus non-Hispanic whites, urban versus suburban residents, and low- versus high-income families, respectively. There was also an association for lower parental education level with children’s lower health risk perception of e-cigarette product contents.

“A better understanding of how teens perceive e-cigarette products and their health consequences can help us tailor messaging for parents and guardians, teachers and coaches, anyone working closely with youth to improve how we’re communicating with them,” Vu said in a statement.


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