'Cool, fun factor' motivates e-cigarette use in teens

July 18, 2016, Canadian Medical Association Journal

The novelty factor of e-cigarettes is the key motivation for their use by adolescents, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"While e-cigarettes are frequently used as devices for in , we found most in our survey (including 47.8% of those who recently smoked cigarettes) were motivated by the "cool/fun/something new" features of e-cigarettes," writes Dr. Michael Khoury and coauthors. The research was conducted while Khoury was a pediatric cardiology resident at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is now a pediatric cardiology resident at Stollery Children's Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The study involved 2367 students aged 14-15 years enrolled in grade 9 in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada.

Previous studies have found increasing rates of e-cigarette use by adolescents in the United States and Canada, and some have found higher rates of e-cigarette use in adolescents exposed to tobacco. In Canada, e-cigarette use is now more common than cigarette use by teenagers.

Researchers from SickKids and Heart Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, sought to understand the motivation, frequency and other factors for use of e-cigarettes by teens who were part of a school-based program that screens for cardiovascular risk factors. Of the 2367 teens who responded to at least 1 question in the smoking section of the survey, nearly 70% (1599) had heard about e-cigarettes; almost a quarter of them (380) had learned about them from a display or a sign in a store. Over 10% (238) had used e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette use was more common among male respondents who were already using cigarettes and other tobacco products, and in those whose family or friends smoked. Smoking cessation did not appear to be a driver of e-cigarette use.

"Use of e-cigarettes was [also] associated with lower self-identified health level, greater stress level and a lower estimated household income, which suggests that e-cigarette use may have some key associations that may help to identify adolescents at risk," write the authors.

They acknowledge that, owing to the study's cross-sectional design, the findings represet association and cannot prove causation, and that since the study was limited to one region in Canada the findings are not necessarily generalisable.

The authors call for the continued development of strict regulations to reduce the use of e-cigarettes among .

In a related editorial, Dr. Matthew Stanbrook, Deputy Editor, CMAJ, and a respirologist, highlights as concerning the study's novel finding that e-cigarette use was highest among the most vulnerable youth, as reflected by poor health, high stress or low socioeconomic status. He also expresses concern over the study's confirmation that most teens were not substituting e-cigarettes for cigarettes; instead, the odds of e-cigarette use were 12-fold higher in youth who also smoked cigarettes (i.e., "dual users").

Dr. Stanbrook calls for expanded public health programs that apply anti-tobacco principles to , government prohibition of the addition of flavourings, and restrictions on e-cigarette advertising.

Explore further: Public health benefits of e-cigarette use tend to outweigh the harms, new study says

More information: Canadian Medical Association Journal, www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.151169

Canadian Medical Association Journal, www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.160728

Related Stories

Public health benefits of e-cigarette use tend to outweigh the harms, new study says

July 14, 2016
A modeling study by top tobacco control experts finds that e-cigarettes are likely to provide public health benefits based on "conservative estimates" of the likely uptake of vaping and smoking by adolescents and young adults.

E-cigarette use among college students—helpful aid or risky enabler?

June 30, 2016
Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use continues to rise, and current data regarding use of e-cigarettes among college students are needed. The study, "Electronic Cigarette Use Among College Students: Links to Gender, Race/Ethnicity, ...

Seeing e-cigarettes in shops may influence their use by teenagers

April 13, 2016
Adolescents who recall seeing e-cigarettes in shops are more likely to have tried them in the past and are more likely to intend to try them in the future, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public ...

Teen vaping could reverse progress in the control of tobacco

July 11, 2016
A new USC study debunks the popular belief that electronic cigarettes are merely a substitute for cigarettes among teens. Instead, the study suggests that some teens who never would have smoked cigarettes are now vaping.

Increase in e-cigarette use, decrease in smoking, is encouraging, expert says

April 20, 2015
The increase in electronic cigarette use, coupled with a decrease in smoking, could be a positive sign for the prevention of cigarette use, said Lynn Kozlowski, University at Buffalo professor of community health and health ...

E-cigarettes a gateway to smoking for teens: study

June 13, 2016
(HealthDay)—Teens in the United States who use electronic cigarettes are six times more likely to move on to traditional cigarettes compared to kids who never use the devices, a new study reports.

Recommended for you

Graphic warning labels linked to reduced sugary drink purchases

June 18, 2018
Warning labels that include photos linking sugary drink consumption with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay, may reduce purchases of the drinks, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School ...

Study unmasks scale of patient doctor divide

June 13, 2018
A study has estimated that around three million Britons—or 7.6 % of the country—believe they have experienced a harmful or potentially harmful but preventable problem in primary healthcare.

Lentils significantly reduce blood glucose levels, study reveals

June 13, 2018
Replacing potatoes or rice with pulses can lower your blood glucose levels by more than 20 per cent, according to a first-ever University of Guelph study.

Researcher studies the impact religion has on sleep quality

June 13, 2018
Can a person's religious practices impact their sleep quality? That's the focus of a new study by Christopher Ellison in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Sociology and his collaborators.

Mediterranean-style eating with lean, unprocessed red meat improves heart disease risk

June 13, 2018
Adopting a Mediterranean-style eating pattern improves heart health, with or without reducing red meat intake, if the red meat consumed is lean and unprocessed, according to a Purdue University nutrition study.

Sleeping too much or not enough may have bad effects on health

June 12, 2018
Fewer than six and more than ten hours of sleep per day are associated with metabolic syndrome and its individual components, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health that involved 133,608 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.