'Maybe they should regulate them quite strictly until they know the true dangers': A focus group study exploring UK adolescents’ views on e-cigarette regulation

Weishaar, H., Trevisan, F. and Hilton, S. (2016) 'Maybe they should regulate them quite strictly until they know the true dangers': A focus group study exploring UK adolescents’ views on e-cigarette regulation. Addiction, 111(9), pp. 1637-1645. (doi: 10.1111/add.13377) (PMID:26948979) (PMCID:PMC4988509)

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Background and aims: Regulation of electronic cigarettes has moved to the top of the addiction policy agenda, as demonstrated by the recent focus across the UK on introducing age of sale restrictions. Yet, the views of those affected by such regulation remain largely unexplored. This paper presents the first detailed qualitative exploration of adolescents’ perceptions of existing, and opinions about potential, e-cigarette regulation. Methods: 16 focus groups, including a total of 83 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17, were conducted in deprived, mixed and affluent urban areas in Scotland and England between November 2014 and February 2015. Transcripts were imported into Nivivo 10, thematically coded and analysed. Results: Participants critically considered existing evidence and competing interests in regulatory debates and demonstrated sophisticated understandings of the advantages and disadvantages of regulation. They overwhelmingly supported strong e-cigarette regulation and endorsed restrictions on sales to minors, marketing and e-cigarette use in public places. Concern about potential health harms of e-cigarette use and marketing increasing the acceptability of vaping and smoking led these adolescents to support regulation. Conclusions: In focus group discussions, a sample of UK adolescents exposed to particular communications about e-cigarettes supported strict regulation of e-cigarettes, including banning sales to minors and use in indoor public areas.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hilton, Professor Shona and Trevisan, Dr Filippo and Weishaar, Dr Heide
Authors: Weishaar, H., Trevisan, F., and Hilton, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Addiction
ISSN (Online):1360-0443
Published Online:18 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Addiction 111(9): 1637-1645
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU