Published In

Archives of Public Health

Document Type


Publication Date



Electronic cigarettes -- Analysis, Commercial products -- Testing


Background: Despite controversy over their possible health consequences, manufacturers of e-cigarettes employ a variety of marketing media to increase their popularity among adolescents. This study analyzed the relationship between adolescent e-cigarette harm perception and five types of e-cigarette advertising exposures: social media, radio, billboard, newspaper, and television.

Methods: This study used data from Wave 4.5 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATH). PATH collects demographic data and interview individuals about issues pertaining to tobacco use, health outcomes, attitudes, and behaviors. This study applied factor analysis to three individual PATH harm perception items to develop a composite harm perception score. Using linear regression, the study explored the relationship of harm perception and participant responses to their recalled viewing of five different types (i.e., newspaper, radio, billboard, television and social media) of advertisements within the past 30 days. A second analysis explored if adjusting for exposure to anti-tobacco messaging and environmental factors such as family approval mitigated the association of harm perception and advertisement types.

Results: The study sample consisted of 12,570 (weighted N = 23,993,149) individuals aged 12 to 17 years old. Unadjusted past 30-day exposure to newspaper, radio, billboard, and social media advertising all correlated with a reduced harm perception, but only the associations for newspaper and social media were statistically significant.

Conclusion: E-cigarette advertising influences adolescent perceptions of harm in e-cigarette use, particularly for social media and newspaper advertisements. This association weakens when adjusted for covariates such as environmental support and exposure to anti-tobacco marketing. These findings provide evidence for policy makers to continue anti-tobacco marketing and incorporate environmentally supportive strategies such as holistic, family-centered educational approaches to reduce e-cigarette use among adolescents.


Copyright (c) 2022 The Authors

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Persistent Identifier