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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

NYU: Latent Class Analysis of Young Adult Nicotine Beliefs

A study co-authored by Dr. Raymond Niaura, interim chair of the Department of Epidemiology and professor of social and behavioral sciences at New York University School of Global Public Health, was published by Nicotine and Tobacco Research titled “Latent Classes of Nicotine Beliefs Correlate with Perceived Susceptibility and Severity of Nicotine and Tobacco Products in US young adults.”

Pervasive misperceptions about nicotine may influence uptake of quit smoking aids and the impact of policies addressing nicotine as a tobacco product constituent. The goal of the current study is to extend analyses in the Truth Initiative Young Adult Cohort Study sample by characterizing young adult subgroups based on their nicotine beliefs using latent class analyses. The use of this analysis can be an important tool in risk perception research to identify patterns and subgroups of people with similar beliefs. This can also be used to inform the need for and development of targeted messages or interventions.

Findings indicate that underlying nicotine beliefs are associated with perceived harms of specific nicotine and tobacco products (relative to cigarettes), with greater false beliefs about nicotine correlated with greater perceived susceptibility to nicotine addiction. These differences in the perceptions of nicotine and tobacco-related harms can be partially explained by clustering of underlying nicotine beliefs, which are correlated with sociodemographic predictors of smoking. These findings may help to identify specific beliefs or groups to be targeted by public education efforts on nicotine.

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