Nav: Home

Adolescents are more likely than adults to use fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes

March 12, 2019

LEBANON, NH - E-cigarettes were initially intended as a smoking cessation tool, yet vaping has skyrocketed among kids to the point that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Surgeon General both recently declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic. Adolescent and young-adult e-cigarette users are attracted to vaping because of appealing marketing, and report tempting e-juice flavors as a leading reason for use. They are more interested in experimenting with fruit-, candy-, or menthol-flavored e-cigarettes than with tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, perceiving sweet flavors as less harmful than tobacco flavors.

The FDA recently requested information on the role flavors may play in both attracting youth to tobacco products and also transitioning traditional smokers to e-cigarettes. A new Dartmouth study, led by Samir Soneji, PhD, aims to address some of the current research gaps by providing information on flavor types. Objectives of the study included assessing the categories of e-cigarette flavors (including fruit, candy, mint/menthol, and tobacco) used by adolescent, young adult, and older adult e-cigarette users; comparing across these groups the availability of appealing flavors as a reason for e-cigarette use; and correlating the use of flavor types with the simultaneous use of multiple flavor types.

Four main findings emerged from this nationally representative study. "The availability of appealing e-cigarette flavors was a more salient reason for vaping among adolescents and young adults than among older adults," says Soneji. "We found that adolescent and young adult vapers were not only more likely than older adult vapers to use fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, but were more likely to concurrently use multiple flavor types. We also found that current cigarette smokers who tried to quit smoking in the past year were more likely than non-cigarette smokers to use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes." The team's study, "Use of Flavored E-Cigarettes Among Adolescents, Young Adults, and Adults: Findings From the Population Assessment for Tobacco and Health Study" is newly published in Public Health Reports.

Studies increasingly show that fruit and sweet e-cigarette flavors may be particularly toxic because of the chemicals included in these flavors. Common components of fruit- and sweet-flavored e-cigarettes may have negative impacts on lung function and may contribute to respiratory cell inflammation, respiratory disease, and irritation when inhaled. In addition to the potential harms from e-cigarette flavorings, nicotine intake levels from e-cigarettes may be similar to levels from combustible cigarettes, further contributing to nicotine addiction and increasing the risk of cigarette smoking initiation. "We are looking to determine if adolescents who vape sweet-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to initiate cigarette smoking than their counterparts who vape tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes," says Soneji. "On the other hand, we'll determine if adult cigarette smokers who vape tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes are more likely to quit cigarette smoking than their counterparts who vape sweet flavored e-cigarettes."

The rapid rise in youth e-cigarette use has erased recent declines in youth cigarette smoking. E-cigarette use has the potential to create a new generation of nicotine-addicted adults. By providing information on flavor types, Soneji's study could help the FDA and other regulatory agencies in refining effective e-cigarette regulation. "Stricter regulation or banning of flavored e-cigarettes, such as fruit and candy, can achieve the dual goal of reducing youth vaping while not burdening older adult cigarette smokers who use e-cigarettes to help quit," he says.
-end-
Samir S. Soneji, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College. He is also a member of the Cancer Control Program at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center. His research interests include the value of cancer care, tobacco regulatory control, and cancer screening, and focus on developing and applying innovative and quantitative methods to questions in tobacco control and cancer screening.

About Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Norris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester, Nashua and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is one of 49 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute's "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at cancer.dartmouth.edu.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Related Lung Function Articles:

Identification of new factors important in maintaining lung function in the elderly
Japanese researchers have found that elderly carriers of a specific DsbA-L gene type are at increased risk for lung function decline.
Weight gain associated with accelerated lung function decline in adulthood
Lung function declines naturally over the course of the human lifespan.
Inhaled immunosuppressant may increase survival, pulmonary function after lung transplant
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that lung transplant recipients who had early signs of organ rejection could increase their chances of survival by inhaling a liposomal form of the immunosuppression drug cyclosporine through an investigational nebulizer.
Exposure to BPA in the womb linked to wheezing and poorer lung function in children
Pregnant women exposed to higher levels of the commonly used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) are more likely to have children who suffer with wheezing and poorer lung function, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.
Exposure to outdoor air pollutants, change in emphysema, lung function
Whether exposure to outdoor air pollutants is associated with emphysema progression and change in lung function was the focus of this observational study.
Girls who are more physically active in childhood may have better lung function in adolescence
A study of more than 2,300 adolescents underscores the pulmonary health benefits of physical activity.
Exposure to chemicals before and after birth is associated with a decrease in lung function
A European study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, analyses for the first time the impact of the exposome on respiratory health.
Common e-cigarette chemical flavorings may impair lung function
Two chemicals widely used to flavor electronic cigarettes may be impairing the function of cilia in the human airway, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H.
Monitoring lung function at home in teens with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Heart and lung complications are responsible for much of the morbidity and mortality associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
E-cigarette additives increase inflammation and impair lung function, study finds
Flavoring and additive ingredients in e-cigarettes may increase inflammation and impair lung function, according to new research.
More Lung Function News and Lung Function Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.