Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2020

Department 1



Electronic cigarette use has risen drastically in recent years among teens and young adults. Rates of conventional cigarette use have decreased, while rates of electronic cigarette use are on the rise. Knowledge and perceptions of the risks and benefits of conventional and electronic cigarettes greatly impacts adolescents and young adults’ decisions to use these products. Published literature explores the issues of social norms, intertemporal choice, present bias, prospect theory, and hyperbolic discounting as means to explain the way in which young populations perceive risk and risky behavior. Research suggests that children and young adults believe that e-cigarettes are safer, less addictive, less risky, and more socially acceptable than conventional cigarettes. In addition to these findings, this study found that smokers are more likely to engage in risky behavior in general, and throughout the coronavirus pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, individuals who smoke are more likely to experience complications once contracting the coronavirus disease. This study calls for the need to educate frequent smokers, of both electronic and conventional cigarettes, about their individual risk factors in light of the recent pandemic.


Written for OMS 405: Irrational Behavior