Health Risk Perceptions Regarding Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Secondhand Exposure Behaviors Among U.S. Student Military Veterans
Bartley, Katie Alexandra
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Student veterans are at high risk for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use and for exposing others to secondhand vape. This study examined student veterans’ health risk perceptions of ENDS use and their association with implementing vaping restrictions in their homes and vehicles. The study included 256 veterans who were 18 years of age or older, were attending higher education in the United States, and who endorsed being a current smoker (n = 105; 41%), a current ENDS user (n = 79; 30.9%), or a current dual user (n = 72; 28.1%). The sample included 187 men (Mage = 31.73), 66 women (Mage = 30.52), one individual who identified as gender fluid (Mage = 41.00 years), and two individuals who did not specify a gender. Results demonstrated student veterans have higher rates of ENDS use, χ 2 (1, n = 184) = 30.38, p < .001, and dual use, χ 2 (1, n = 177) = 29.91, p < .001, than those in the general population, and that they may be less likely to ban ENDS in vehicles than those in the general population. In addition, student veterans were less likely to ban ENDS in the home and vehicle than smoking in the home, X 2 (1, n = 146) = 122.99, p <.001, and vehicle, X 2 (1, n = 111) = 29.27, p <.001, respectively, further suggesting that those who reside with veterans, including their spouses and children, are likely to be exposed to secondhand vape. Given our study also found that health perceptions associated with ENDS were related to both ENDS use, F(2,251) = 42.26, p <.001, and implementation of bans in the home, t(252) = 6.73, p <.001, and vehicle, t(252) = 6.86, p <.001, among this population, our study supports the need for public education about the risks associated with ENDS use. Whereas males (b = -3.91, p < .001) and those with vapers living in the home (b = -3.91, p < .001) had lower risk perceptions, the role of military factors in vaping perceptions and associated behaviors remains unclear. The current study supports that interventions that encourage student veterans to ban use of ENDS products around their children and other nonsmokers/nonvapers will be beneficial in preserving the health of this vulnerable population and their families.