Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes

52 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2015 Last revised: 30 Apr 2016

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Date Written: March 2, 2015

Abstract

Drawing on evidence from a new nationally representative survey, this article examines several measures of risk beliefs for e-cigarettes. For both lung cancer mortality risks and total smoking mortality risks, respondents believe that e-cigarettes pose risks that are lower than the risks of conventional tobacco cigarettes. However, people greatly overestimate the risk levels of e-cigarettes compared to the actual risk levels. Risk beliefs for conventional cigarettes receive at least a two-thirds informational weight in the formation of e-cigarette risk beliefs. Public perceptions of nicotine levels of e-cigarettes are closer to the beliefs for conventional cigarettes than are their health risk perceptions. Consumers’ desired uses of e-cigarettes are more strongly related to health risk perceptions than perceived e-cigarette nicotine levels. The overestimation of e-cigarette risks establishes a potential role for informational policies.

Keywords: e-cigarettes, cigarettes, smoking, risk, Bayesian

JEL Classification: I12, I18, K32, D80

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip, Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes (March 2, 2015). American Journal of Health Economics, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 15-3; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2571489

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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