Misplaced Trust: Racial Differences in Use of Tobacco Products and Trust in Sources of Tobacco Health Information.

Research paper by Héctor E HE Alcalá, Mienah Z MZ Sharif, Brittany N BN Morey

Indexed on: 08 Apr '17Published on: 08 Apr '17Published in: Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco


Recently, the rates of utilization of alternative tobacco products have increased. Providing health information about tobacco products from trustworthy sources may help decrease the popularity of these products. Using a nationally representative study of adults, we fill the current gap in research on racial and ethnic disparities in utilization of alternative tobacco products as well as in trust of sources of health information about tobacco products.Data came from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) (N=3,738), which was collected in 2015. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds of use of seven different tobacco product (e.g. hookah, e-cigarettes, etc.), trust in seven different sources of e-cigarette health information (e.g. family or friends, health care providers, etc.) and trust in six different sources of tobacco health information, adjusting for control variables.There were disparities in utilization of alternative tobacco products and in trust in tobacco companies across racial and ethnic groups. Blacks and Asians were far more likely than whites to trust tobacco (AORs= 3.89 and 8.67) and e-cigarette companies (AORs= 6.97 and 3.13) with information about the health effects of e-cigarettes than whites.The popularity of ATPs appears to be high, and may offset recent observed decreases in cigarette use. Blacks and Asians appear to trust tobacco companies as sources of information when compared to whites.Higher levels of trust in tobacco companies among Asians and Blacks may translate to greater susceptibility to utilize tobacco products among these groups thereby increasing disparities. There is a need for social marketing and education efforts focused on increasing awareness of adverse health effects of using alternative tobacco products as well as on the untrustworthiness of tobacco and e-cigarette companies, especially among racial and ethnic minorities.