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The increase in e-cigarette risk perceptions might discourage adult smokers from using e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking, despite evidence from a clinical trial that ecigarettes are a more effective cessation method than FDA-approved products such as the nicotine patch. Our econometric results suggest that the immediate impact of the first information shock was to increase the fraction of respondents who perceived e-cigarettes as more harmful than smoking by about 16 percentage points. More targeted advice about the risks of THC e-cigarettes (vs nicotine products) might have more effectively reduced the use of those products, potentially preventing EVALI cases.

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  • Citation: Dave, D., Dench, D., Kenkel, D. et al. News that takes your breath away: risk perceptions during an outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries. J Risk Uncertain 60, 281–307 (2020).
  • Acknowledgement: Dhaval Dave acknowledges support through grant R01DA039968 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors are grateful to Cornell University and the Health Thought Leadership Network at Bentley University for funding the data collection.