FROM THE JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH

New and emerging tobacco products such as hookah and e-cigarettes are perceived as being less harmful and more socially acceptable than traditional cigarettes, according to Maria Roditis, Ph.D., and her associates.

In a survey of 722 students aged 13-19, cigarettes were perceived as being most harmful to one’s health, to the health of friends, and to the environment. Perceived harm to one’s own health was similar for cigars and chewing tobacco, but chewing tobacco was seen as significantly less harmful to friends and to the environment. E-cigarettes were seen as least harmful overall, followed by hookah.

E-cigarettes were seen to have the least social risk, while cigarettes and cigars had the greatest social risk. Chewing tobacco had the smallest perceived social benefit, while hookah had the greatest social benefit. All tobacco products were seen as having significant long-term health risks, though the effect was smaller in older adolescents and for e-cigarettes.

“There is a clear need to expand messaging campaigns to discuss the risks related to all tobacco products and not focus solely on the risk of cigarettes alone. Although such messaging campaigns should continually be updated to reflect the current body of research, the public health community needs to actively start messaging on known risks related to all tobacco products now,” the investigators noted.

Find the full study in the Journal of Adolescent Health ( doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.01.012 ).

lfranki@frontlinemedcom.com

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