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Sociodemographic correlates of self-reported exposure to e-cigarette communications and its association with public support for smoke-free and vape-free policies: results from a national survey of US adults
  1. Andy S L Tan1,
  2. Cabral A Bigman2,
  3. Ashley Sanders-Jackson3
  1. 1University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Department of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Stanford University, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andy S L Tan, University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication, 3620 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; andytan{at}


Background Exposure to e-cigarette communications (eg, advertisements, news and entertainment media, and interpersonal discussion) may influence support for smoke-free or vape-free policies. This study examined the sociodemographic correlates of self-reported exposure to e-cigarette communications and their relationships with support for restricting vaping and smoking in public venues.

Method Online survey data was collected from a representative sample of US adults (n=1449) between October and December 2013 (mean age=50 years, 51% female, 8% African-American, 10% Hispanic, 6% other races) and weighted to match the US adult population. We fitted multiple regression models, adjusting for demographic variables, to examine associations between support for policies to restrict vaping and smoking in public venues and self-reported frequency of exposure to e-cigarette communications in the preceding month. We fitted separate models to assess associations between policy support and frequency of exposures weighted by whether each category of e-cigarette communications was perceived as positive or negative.

Results Higher self-reported exposure to advertising (B=−0.022, p=0.006), other media (B=−0.022, p=0.043) and interpersonal discussion (B=−0.071, p<0.0005) perceived as positive were associated with lower support for vaping restrictions, adjusting for covariates. Exposure to e-cigarette communications was associated with lower support for smoking restrictions in bivariate analyses but was not significant after adjusting for covariates.

Conclusions Further research is needed to assess whether messages portraying e-cigarettes as a way to circumvent smoking restrictions from advertisements and other media are influencing public support for vape-free policies. These findings provide empirical evidence to inform the policy debate over regulating specific e-cigarette advertising claims.

  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • Media
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Public policy

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