User Identified Positive Outcome Expectancies of Electronic Cigarette Use: A Concept Mapping Study

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Electronic cigarette (ECIG) use is growing in popularity, but little is known about the perceived positive outcomes of ECIG use. This study used concept mapping (CM) to examine positive ECIG outcome expectancies. Sixty-three past 30-day ECIG users (38.1% female) between the ages of 18 and 64 (M = 37.8, SD = 13.3) completed a CM module. In an online program, participants provided statements that completed a prompt: “A specific positive, enjoyable, or exciting effect (i.e., physical or psychological) that I have experienced WHILE USING or IMMEDIATELY AFTER USING an electronic cigarette/electronic vaping device is. . . .” Participants (n = 35) sorted 123 statements into “piles” of similar content and rated (n = 43) each statement on a 7-point scale (1 = Definitely NOT a positive effect to 7 = Definitely a positive effect). A cluster map was created using data from the sorting task, and analysis indicated a 7 cluster model of positive ECIG use outcome expectancies: Therapeutic/Affect Regulation, High/Euphoria, Sensation Enjoyment, Perceived Health Effects, Benefits of Decreased Cigarette Use, Convenience, and Social Impacts. The Perceived Health Effects cluster was rated highest, although all mean ratings were greater than 4.69. Mean cluster ratings were compared, and females, younger adults, past 30-day cigarette smokers, users of more “advanced” ECIG devices, and nonlifetime (less than 100 lifetime cigarettes) participants rated certain clusters higher than comparison groups (ps < 0.05). ECIG users associate positive outcomes with ECIG use. ECIG outcome expectancies may affect product appeal and tobacco use behaviors and should be examined further to inform regulatory policies.

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