Online Program

Through smoke and vapor: Exploring the landscape of e-cigarette terminology among young and middle-aged adult users

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jennifer Alexander, MSW, MPH, RTI International, Washington, DC
Blair Coleman, Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
Sarah Johnson, Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
Greta Tessman, Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD
Cindy Tworek, Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD
Denise Dickinson, MPH, Child and Adolescent Research and Evaluation Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
The prevalence of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) awareness and use has been increasing in both adults and youth. ENDS, such as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, are evolving and now include a variety of products and devices, including vape pens and e-hookahs. Previous research suggests consumers often view ENDS products to be a safer alternative to cigarettes and an effective method to quit their tobacco use. The increased use and proliferation of novel, yet related, products require researchers and others to be aware of how consumers discuss and differentiate these products as well as the language and culture surrounding them. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore adult e-cigarette users’ terminology.  We will present the results and implications of 12 focus groups (n=99) with current e-cigarette users across five geographic regions in the United States. Focus groups were segmented by age (young adults aged 18-29 vs. older adults aged 30 years or older), and by tobacco use (exclusive vs. non-exclusive e-cigarette use). We analyzed transcripts with a systematic review of a notes matrix and used NVivo 10 software to identify common themes (and any exceptions to these themes) as well as similarities and differences among the various subpopulations.  Preliminary results suggest an evolving and diverse set of terms associated with ENDS as well as some confusion and uncertainty among consumers about the distinctions between both the product types and the words used to describe them.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify terms used to describe novel ENDS and their subgenres. Discuss the effect social norms have on ENDS terminology and language. Assess the importance and use of user-identified terminology in future research and communication around ENDS products.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Use, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Over the past 15 years as a research scientist, I have been the project director of several federally funded research studies focusing on tobacco use and cessation, including formative research on novel products with multiple audiences. Among my research interests is the language and culture surrounding these novel and emerging products.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.