In the last 3 years, there has been a drastic shift in how U.S. adolescents use tobacco and nicotine. More adolescents now “vape” (that is, use e-cigarettes and similar devices) than smoke cigarettes. Many, but not all, of the liquids that can be used to fill vaping devices, contain nicotine. Although all vaping is harmful to adolescents, there may be additional harm posed by vaping with nicotine. Nicotine harms adolescent brain development and, if youth become addicted nicotine through vaping,...Read more
Jessica Pepper, a social scientist with RTI’s Center for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research, studies e-cigarettes and other electronic vapor products. She authored some of the first studies on risk beliefs and reasons for use of e-cigarettes, including the first systematic review of e-cigarette awareness, use, and perceptions, published in the journal Tobacco Control. She currently works on RTI’s Grand Challenge project, a multidisciplinary initiative to advance scientific research on e-cigarettes in the context of health, public policy, pharmacology, toxicology, aerosol technology, and health communications.
Dr. Pepper also studies multiple tobacco product use, cigarette warning labels, and risk perceptions of tobacco products. She has expertise in e-cigarette measurement issues and has contributed to survey design and development for studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health, among others.
Dr. Pepper joined RTI in 2016. Previously, she was a doctoral student and postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina, where she received multiple awards for her work, including the Royster Society’s Pogue Fellowship.