Awareness and use of electronic cigarettes has rapidly increased among U.S. adults. The aim of this study was to examine awareness and likeability of e-cigarette print advertisements in a national sample of young adults and to examine ad likeability as a correlate of intended e-cigarette use among never e-cigarette users.
Participants (n = 2110, unweighted) of the Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort (January 2013) were randomized to see four print ads (blu, Fin, NJOY, and White Cloud). Bivariate analyses provided descriptive characteristics of all participants and multivariable logistic regression examined the relationships between the average likeability score (across all four ads), curiosity about e-cigarettes, and susceptibility to using e-cigarettes among respondents who had never used e-cigarettes.
Nearly 20% of participants reported awareness of the blu ad. Of the four e-cigarette ads, likeability was highest for the NJOY ad. Participants with higher ad likeability ratings had more than twice the odds of being curious to try an e-cigarette (AOR 2.33; 95% CI 1.84–2.95), try an e-cigarette soon (AOR 2.93; 95% CI 1.96–4.38), and try an e-cigarette if offered by best friend (AOR 2.48; 95% CI 1.95–3.15), after adjusting for other covariates. Current cigarette use was the strongest correlate of susceptibility to using an e-cigarette (p < .01) in the multivariable models.
Higher ad likeability was correlated with greater susceptibility to try an e-cigarette among U.S. young adults. Future studies are needed to monitor how awareness and likeability of e-cigarette advertising influence patterns of e-cigarette and other tobacco use in young people.