A cross-sectional pilot study in adolescents to evaluate determinants of health regarding e-cigarette, or vaping, product use




Gilmore, Bretton Alex

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Purpose. It is estimated that five million United States adolescents vape.¹⁻³ Throughout the literature, assumptions have been made regarding adolescents’ vaping knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. Gaps exist establishing evidence that adolescents believe vaping is the same things as cigarette smoking. This study evaluated adolescent vaping to 1.) tabulate the number of respondents self-reporting to vape regularly, 2.) gauge the age of initiation, 3.) identify trends in attitudes and beliefs regarding the health of common activities of daily living 4.) consider perceptions of vaping equivalence to smoking cigarettes or using traditional tobacco products, and 5.) assess reporting of vaping associated negative health outcomes. Methods. A cross-sectional study design was created, and novel electronic survey developed to gather anonymous data via Google Forms. The survey included a Variable Activity Perception Evaluation (VAPE) Scale and direct questions related to vaping. The instrument was circulated amongst students aged 12 to 20 years enrolled at 10 greater San Antonio area schools (six middle and four high schools) across three districts over a 90-day period. Responses came in from 11 schools across six districts. Descriptive and comparative statistics, including nonparametric methodology (e.g., Chi-square, Kruskal-Wallis, and Wilcoxon Rank Sum) were used. Results. Eligible respondents’ (N=267) mean age was 16 (SD=1.6) years. Females (61%) predominantly made up the sample. Seven percent (N=264) reported they vaped regularly and 20% (N=245) had tried vaping with the majority of those experimenting by age 16. There were statistically significant differences on 14 of 40 VAPE Scale prompts when comparing vapers to non-vapers (35%). Respondents reported that they did not think vaping was the same as smoking (63% “No”) or traditional tobacco use (38% “No”, 21% “Maybe”). Ninety percent (N=17) of those who vaped reported experiencing negative health outcomes, as indicated by greater than or equal to one sign or symptom. Conclusions. Texas adolescents reported similar vaping trends when compared to national samples. However, Texas adolescents did not view vaping as cigarette smoking or traditional tobacco use. Perceptions of the health of routine activities of daily living might be predictive of future vape initiation and use. Prospective studies should be designed to evaluate negative health outcomes and implications associated with vaping.


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