4. Harm perceptions of heated tobacco products and vaping among students at Lithuanian universities
Use of heated tobacco products (HTP) and e-cigarettes can reduce tobacco-related harm among smokers but may also increase nicotine use among youth. Relative harm perceptions may motivate use of alternative nicotine products instead of smoking, but the perceptions of HTP to users, bystanders and environment are less researched. The study explored relative harm perceptions of HTP compared with smoking and vaping among university students in Lithuania, where tobacco market share of HTP was growing fast in the past years.
Method: A cross-sectional online survey including a convenience sample of 340 students at Lithuanian universities who had ever used nicotine products.
Compared with smoking, vaping and using HTP were perceived as less harmful to users, bystanders and environment. Vaping products and HTP were mostly perceived equally harmful to users, bystanders and environment, but harm perceptions differed based on use of these products. Vapers were more likely to perceive vaping products as less harmful to users than IQOS and smoking, while HTP use was not associated with relative HTP harm perceptions compared with vaping products or smoking.
Alternative nicotine products are perceived as less harmful than smoking by many nicotine-using university students in Lithuania. However, different factors might shape harm perceptions of vaping and heated tobacco products.