Educational programs are needed to combat the sharp rise in adolescent e-cigarette use. We assessed adolescent knowledge about e-cigarettes, perceptions of harmfulness and addictiveness and intent to try e-cigarettes before and after an e-cigarette educational session.
We conducted a one-group pre- and post-test study among middle and high school students in Alabama in 2019. The intervention included a 30-minute educational session based on the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit on e-cigarette types, contents, marketing and advertising, health effects and nicotine addiction. McNemar tests of paired proportions and multi-level, mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to analyze intervention effects.
Surveys were completed by 2,889 middle and high school students. The intervention was associated with significantly increased knowledge about e-cigarettes and perceptions that e-cigarettes are harmful and addictive, and with significantly lower intent to try e-cigarettes. At pre-test, middle school students had lower knowledge, believed that e-cigarettes were not as addictive and showed higher intent to try both e-cigarettes and cigarettes compared to high school students. Groups that were associated with lower perceived harmfulness and addictiveness were: ever-users of e-cigarettes, ever-users of both e-cigarettes and cigarettes and prior users of mint/menthol flavored e-cigarettes.
A school-based educational session was significantly associated with improved adolescent knowledge about e-cigarettes, increased the perceived harmfulness and addictiveness of e-cigarettes, and reduced intent to try e-cigarettes. E-cigarette education should be prioritized for middle school students due to lower levels of knowledge and higher intent to try tobacco compared to high school students.

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