Perceptions of electronic cigarettes among ethno-culturally diverse Latino adults in four US urban centers

Elena L. Navas-Nacher, Mayra L. Estrella, Aida L. Giachello, Thomas J. Payne, L Kandi L, Walker, Joy L. Hart, Carlos J. Rodriguez, Allison Groom, Robyn L. Landry, Anshula Kesh, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Clara G. Sears, Lindsay K. Tompkins, Rose Marie Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine perceptions including knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about e-cigarettes among ethno-culturally diverse Latino adults living in the US, a rapidly growing minority group for which we know little about their e-cigarette perceptions. Design: A total of 25 focus groups with Latinos (n = 180; ages 18–64 years) were conducted in 2014. E-cigarettes users and non-users were recruited via purposive sampling techniques. Participants completed brief questionnaires on sociodemographic factors and tobacco use. Focus group discussions were conducted in English and Spanish, audio-recorded, and transcribed. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis procedures. Results: Participants were of diverse Latino backgrounds. Over one-third (35%) reported current cigarette smoking and 8% reported current e-cigarette or hookah use. Nonsmokers reported experimenting with e-cigarettes and hookah during social occasions. Participants’ perceptions towards e-cigarettes were generally formed in comparison to conventional cigarettes. Perceived benefits of using e-cigarettes included their utility as a smoking cessation aid, higher social acceptability, and lower harm compared to conventional cigarettes. Negative perceptions of e-cigarettes included lower overall satisfaction compared to conventional cigarettes and high content of toxins. Socio-cultural factors (e.g. gender roles, familismo, and simpatía) also influenced perceptions of e-cigarette of study participants. Conclusions: Overall, Latino adults knew relatively little about the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use. The limited knowledge about and misinformation of e-cigarettes among this rapidly growing minority group have important public health implications. Findings may inform culturally tailored health communication campaigns, which are much needed among underserved US Latino populations in light of low effectiveness of tobacco control and regulatory efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1221
Number of pages15
JournalEthnicity and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Electronic cigarettes
  • KABs
  • Latinos
  • Perceptions
  • Tobacco use
  • Vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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