Presentation Title

Relationship of Changes in Use of Vaping Products, Awareness of Related Health Information, and General Risk-Taking Behaviors

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ian S. Madfes, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Vaping is a voluntary behavior that was first incentivized as a risk-free alternative to smoking. It became initially socially and publicly more acceptable because of its positive perceptions; vapers believed they could use while avoiding the damaging consequences of smoking. All of this resulted in a vaping epidemic based on an absolute lack of awareness.

It is clear that the choice to smoke is not from a lack of knowledge of its inherent risks, and it has been shown that smokers and former smokers are greater "risk takers" than those who have never smoked.

However, a critical difference between the decision to start smoking versus vaping is that adults who began vaping did not have the same health information that tobacco smokers had. This study endeavors to answer the question: With a new risk awareness, will vapers quit use? It is proposed that the risk-taking patterns for smoking will now be also true for current vapers. It is hypothesized that those who continue to vape after becoming aware of its harmful effects will be generally higher risk-takers than those who quit vaping.

Several anonymous online measures were completed by 10 current vapers and 11 former vapers. Data analysis did not support the hypothesis as groups did not differ in risk-taking scale scores. There were also no discernable differences between the groups on average age or how well informed they were about health risks. One important distinction was evident, however; vapers were far less likely to “trust” health care information provided by medical professionals.

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Relationship of Changes in Use of Vaping Products, Awareness of Related Health Information, and General Risk-Taking Behaviors

Vaping is a voluntary behavior that was first incentivized as a risk-free alternative to smoking. It became initially socially and publicly more acceptable because of its positive perceptions; vapers believed they could use while avoiding the damaging consequences of smoking. All of this resulted in a vaping epidemic based on an absolute lack of awareness.

It is clear that the choice to smoke is not from a lack of knowledge of its inherent risks, and it has been shown that smokers and former smokers are greater "risk takers" than those who have never smoked.

However, a critical difference between the decision to start smoking versus vaping is that adults who began vaping did not have the same health information that tobacco smokers had. This study endeavors to answer the question: With a new risk awareness, will vapers quit use? It is proposed that the risk-taking patterns for smoking will now be also true for current vapers. It is hypothesized that those who continue to vape after becoming aware of its harmful effects will be generally higher risk-takers than those who quit vaping.

Several anonymous online measures were completed by 10 current vapers and 11 former vapers. Data analysis did not support the hypothesis as groups did not differ in risk-taking scale scores. There were also no discernable differences between the groups on average age or how well informed they were about health risks. One important distinction was evident, however; vapers were far less likely to “trust” health care information provided by medical professionals.