Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Reasons for Using E-Cigarettes

Kong, G., Morean, M. E., Cavallo, D. A., Camenga, D. R., & Krishnan-Sarin, S. (2015). Reasons for electronic cigarette experimentation and discontinuation among adolescents and young adults. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 17(7), 847-854.

Recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics indicate that the increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is a serious threat to efforts to reduce nicotine addiction among adolescents and young adults. Kong and colleagues (2015) conducted a serious of focus groups with students at the middle school, high school, and college level to better understand their reasons for initiating e-cigarette use as well as for the decision of some to discontinue using e-cigarettes. Students from all age groups cited curiosity and the availability of various flavors as reasons for their initial interest in e-cigarettes. The researchers also found some age-specific reasons. Middle school students perceived e-cigarette use as a sign of maturity. High school and college students were more strongly influenced by e-cigarette use among their friends and family. Those who discontinued using e-cigarettes did so because they found them less satisfying than real cigarettes or because they lost their initial novelty. The authors suggested that e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults may be reduced by regulating flavors to make e-cigarettes less appealing to young people as well as through educational programs about the potential harm of nicotine use.

Making Connections

Addiction
Adolescence
Peer influence
Persuasion

Media Supplement

As part of the CDC’s series of Tips From Former Smokers this ad features Kristy who tried using e-cigarettes to quit smoking regular cigarettes and eventually became addicted to both.