Do Adolescents Understand What They're Vaping? – Science Trends

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, they might be more likely to use cigarettes and other tobacco products in the future. The current study provides some evidence that youth may not understand whether they are vaping with or without nicotine.

How was this study conducted?

In 2016, we used Facebook to recruit 1,589 US adolescents aged 15-17 who reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. These adolescents completed an online survey assessing a variety of tobacco use behaviors, including items asking whether they usually vape with nicotine, without nicotine, or both. The survey also asked about their understanding of nicotine and other chemicals

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