Perceptions and Experiences of Vaping Among Youth and Young Adult E-Cigarette Users: Considering Age, Gender, and Tobacco Use

Published:September 14, 2020DOI:



      This study examined differences in the topics of vaping perceptions (positive and negative aspects) and experiences (social media content) among e-cigarette users segmented by age and gender (male and female youth and young adults) and tobacco use (never, former, or current user).


      E-cigarette users (N = 558, 53.6% male, mean age: 18.6 years [SD = 2.2], mean use: 5.3 days/week [SD = 2.3]) residing in Nova Scotia, Canada, responded to three open-ended topic questions concerning vaping in an online survey. Responses to each topic (e.g., positive aspects) were coded and grouped into categories (e.g., flavors). Chi-square tests were used to examine whether groups differed by topic, and Bonferroni correction tests were used to determine specific group differences in each coded category.


      Age and gender groups differed in their positive perceptions of a nicotine rush, tricks, and positive social aspects of vaping and in their negative perceptions of respiratory effects, nicotine effects, product malfunction and cost, and negative social aspects of vaping. Age and gender groups also differed in exposure to tricks and branding on social media. Tobacco use groups differed in their positive perceptions of flavor, nicotine rush, tricks, low cost, enhancement, and smoking cessation and in their negative perceptions of negative social aspects and exposure to tricks on social media.


      There are notable similarities and differences among youth and young adult e-cigarette users by age, gender, and tobacco use. Policies and interventions should incorporate these distinctions to effectively address the increasing use of e-cigarettes among young users.


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