High school youth and E-cigarettes: The influence of modified risk statements and flavors on E-cigarette packaging

Sherri Jean Katz, Weijia Shi, Meghan Erkkinen, Bruce Lindgren, Dorothy Hatsukami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: In this paper, we test variations of e-cigarette warning labels on high school youth, alone, and alongside modified risk statements (MRS) and/or flavors, to determine how perceptions of and intentions toward use of e-cigarettes are influenced by these package elements. Methods: An experiment (N = 715 high school youth) varied the warning label participants viewed (FDA warning label/ MarkTen warning label/ abstract warning label) and whether they viewed the label alone or alongside MRS and/or flavors. Results: Drawing upon the Heuristic Systematic Model, we found that youth who view an MRS with any of the warning labels are more likely to engage in counterarguing (compared to the FDA warning label alone), which increases risk perceptions. Additionally, the greater youth perceive the risks associated with e-cigarettes, the lower their intentions of using them, even if they have tried an e-cigarette in the past. Conclusions: Tobacco education and public health messages should encourage youth to evaluate the tobacco industry messages they receive, as counterarguing is associated with higher risk perceptions. Furthermore, fostering increased awareness of the risks associated with e-cigarette use by youth can reduce intentions to use them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-145
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • E-cigarettes
  • Flavors
  • Heuristic Systematic Model
  • Modified risk statements
  • Warning labels

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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