Project Director

Lin, Chia-Wei Joy

Department Examiner

Roundy, Philip T.


Dept. of Marketing and Entrepreneurship


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This research investigated how social aspects influence college-aged e-cigarette users’ decision to use or quit using these devices. We conducted interviews of 10 young adult e-cigarette users and past users to explore three main topics: their experience with e-cigarettes, their evaluation of selected picture and narrative-based advertisements, and preventative phrasing they would suggest for future advertisements. We identified that social influence on young adults’ e-cigarette consumption/cessation revolved around three primary themes: availability of the device, peer pressure, and change of perspective. More importantly, we discovered that the effect of these themes would differ, and the source of the social influence would differ in different stages of a young adult’s journey with e-cigarettes (initiation, continuation, and cessation). Finally, we also identified young adults’ preferences for message and presentation format of e-cigarette preventive campaigns. This research offered insights into understanding social factors' role in young adults’ cigarette consumption/cessation and provided implications for practitioners to create e-cigarette preventative campaigns for this age group.


This study is dedicated to the many roots of inspiration in my life. To my amazing parents, Andy and Ami Wilson, who inspired my love of books by reading to me every night and told me “Go show them how smart you are!” every morning before school. To my younger brother, David, whose thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and witty remarks are a breath of fresh air...most of the time. To my incredible family, especially Papa, Nonna, and JenJen, who inspired my love for adventures and Jesus Christ. To Chris Sheets, who has been the best listening ear, constant supporter, and always reminded me that no matter how stressed I am, the sun will always come up in the morning and everything will be okay. To my marvelous friends who encouraged me to truly be present in the moment, whether listening to Taylor Swift as a study break, taking a walk, or getting $1 tacos multiple days a week. In the Brock Scholars program, I have met some of the most incredible academics, especially Dr. Linda Frost and Professor Angela Ballard, two strong women who inspire my love for adventures and good food! Thank you, Brock Scholars, for the amazing opportunity to create something worthwhile to cap off my experience in Chattanooga. In the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, I want to extend my gratitude to Ryan Russell, whose enthusiasm in the classroom is the reason I want to spend my future giving back through teaching at the university level...and his uplifting presence in the workplace inspires the type of boss that I want to become; Amie Haun, whose character inspires me to go after exactly what I want with confidence; and Marjorie Whiteside, who always managed to make the future look exciting rather than intimidating. Thank you to Dr. Robert Dooley, whose advice during my undergraduate years has been appreciated beyond comparison. From my time at the UTC Development and Alumni Affairs Office, I would like to thank Hattie Whitaker, whose kind heart and generosity make me strive to be the best version of myself. I also want to thank Chuck Wasserstrom, whose way with words is truly a gift and inspired me to become a better writer. To Jayne Holder, who was always a welcoming and cheerful presence at UTC. To Angela Griffith, whose sense of style is something I will always strive to achieve and whose mutual love of dogs is something we could never talk about enough! And to Deb Montgomery, who made every day in the office brighter with her radiating smile, right from the moment I walked through the door. I dedicate the utmost special thank you to my thesis director, Dr. Joy Lin. With her, this process has honestly been enjoyable. Thank you for your enthusiastic attitude, constant encouragement, and exceptional talent with teaching. I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together. Thank you for encouraging me to compete in the 2021 AMA International Collegiate Conference. I couldn’t have placed 4th internationally without your expertise, guidance, and support! And to the one reading this thesis, thank you for supporting our dedication and hard work that spanned over many diligent months of researching and writing. Best of luck on your research endeavors!

IRB Number



B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Advertising, Public service; College students as consumers; Vaping -- Prevention


advertisements; college-aged consumers; e-cigarettes; preventative e-cigarette advertisement campaigns; social aspect in e-cigarette ads


Advertising and Promotion Management | Marketing

Document Type



[i], 52 leaves