Indexed on: 14 Nov '18Published on: 14 Nov '18Published in: Health communication
Smoking behavior may be influenced by perceived trust of information from tobacco and e-cigarette companies about their products. The purpose of this study was to identify sociodemographic subgroups with more trust in tobacco product (tobacco and e-cigarette) companies than health professionals and explore associations between this relative trust and tobacco product use. Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, FDA Cycle) data were analyzed (N = 3,738). Two relative trust measures were developed identifying respondents who trust tobacco companies or e-cigarette companies as much as or more than health professionals for information about the health effects of tobacco products or e-cigarettes versus those who place more trust in health professionals. Dependent variables were smoking status (current, former, never) and e-cigarette use (ever, never). Bivariate analyses and multivariable logistic regressions were conducted in SAS 9.4 using jackknife replicate weights. Respondents who trusted tobacco or e-cigarette companies as much as or more than health professionals were disproportionately from racial/ethnic minority groups or had low levels of income or education (all p < 0.05). Relative trust was not associated with smoking status. After controlling for demographics, respondents who trusted e-cigarette companies as much as or more than health professionals had 87% greater odds (95% CI: 1.16, 3.00) of e-cigarette use, compared to respondents who placed higher trust in health professionals. Findings suggest that population subgroups with greater trust in e-cigarette companies relative to health professionals are more prone to e-cigarette use. Targeted communication strategies may be needed for underserved populations and to counter messaging from e-cigarette companies.