Introduction Advanced vaping devices likely pose a greater risk to adolescent health than basic or intermediate devices because advanced devices deliver nicotine more effectively and heat e-liquid to higher temperatures, producing more harmful chemical emissions. However, little is known about adolescents' risk factors for using different device types.
Methods We used social media to recruit an online sample of 1508 US adolescents aged 15-17 who reported past 30-day use of electronic vaping products (EVPs) in September 2016. We assessed tobacco use, beliefs, and knowledge about EVPs and EVP use behavior, including the device type participants use most frequently. We used multinomial logistic regression to examine differences between adolescents who usually use intermediate versus basic and advanced versus basic devices.
Results Most respondents usually used modifiable advanced devices (56.8%) rather than basic cigalike (14.5%) or pen-style intermediate (28.7%) devices. Use of multiple device types was common, particularly among those who primarily used basic devices. Younger age and less frequent vaping were associated with mainly using basic devices. Adolescents who were older, male, personally bought their main device, and had ever mixed e-liquids were at elevated risk for usually using advanced devices.
Conclusions Adolescents who primarily use basic devices may be newer users who are experimenting with multiple devices. Future research should examine which adolescents are most likely to transition to advanced devices in order to develop targeted interventions. Regulators should consider strategies to reduce access to all types of EVPs, such as better enforcement of the current ban on sales to minors.
Implications This research addresses two gaps in research on adolescent electronic vaping product use: (1) characterizing use of advanced devices as distinct from intermediate devices rather than grouping them together and (2) examining factors associated with use of specific device types. This study suggests that there are distinct profiles of adolescents who use primarily basic, intermediate, or advanced devices. Adolescents who most often use basic devices may be new users experimenting with vaping, whereas adolescents who most often use advanced devices appear to be buying devices for themselves and engaging in risky behaviors such as mixing their own e-liquid.