Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Sei-Hill Kim


Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use has become the most widely used nicotine porduct among adolescents and young adults in the United States. Although some research has shown that e-cigarettes are relatively less harmful than combustible tobacco cigarettes, the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes remain unclear. Some evidence suggests that exposure to e-cigarette marketing leads young people to try e-cigarettes. Given the increased popularity of e-cigarette use, the U.S Food and Drug Administration has implemented regulations on e-cigarette marketing since 2016. To understand the public’s support for media censorship, media scholars have examined gaps in individuals’ perceptions of media effects on themselves compared to effects on others, which refers to third-person effects. Third-person effect hypothesis posits that individuals tend to believe that others are more vulnerable to media content than they themselves are in order to maintain positive self-image. Research has shown that third-person perceptions lead individuals to support media censorship of some types of on media content, such as the internet porn or violent rap music, to counter its anticipated negative effects on others. This study employs a third-person effects theoretical framework to elucidate the factors that lead individuals to support regualtions of e-cigarette marketing. The findings of this study contribute to the body of knowledge about how individuals perceive media effects and how such perceptions lead to particular behaviors. Health practitioners could also benefit from this study by highlighting factors found in this study to increase the public’s support for e-cigarette marketing regulations.