Objectives: Identifying which youth are experimenting with vaping could aid the development and evaluation of targeted media campaigns and research and surveillance activities. In this study, we sought to identify behavioral definitions that best differentiate youth experimenters and established vapers. Methods: We conducted an online survey with a non-probability sample of 1500 youth aged 13-17 who reported ever vaping. Based on recency and lifetime vaping, we constructed 12 definitions of experimenters versus more established or recent users. We examined how well each definition discriminated between experimenters and established/recent users based on correlates (eg, vaping dependence, harm perceptions) using multivariate tests of mean differences, controlling for multiple variables, and ratios of between- to within-group variance. Results: Four definitions best distinguished between experimenters and more established/recent users (ie, had greater Hotelling T2 statistics for the multivariate tests and higher ratios of between- to within-group variance). Three of these 4 identified experimenters as those with no past 30-day vaping. Conclusion: Ever vapers are not a monolithic group. Our results suggest that past 30-day use is an important criterion for distinguishing experimenters from more established users. Understanding nuances between user groups could lead to greater differentiation among ever vapers and aid campaign targeting.
An investigation of definitions of experimental vaping among youth
Walker, M. W., Navarro, M. A., Pepper, J. K., Eggers, M. E., Nonnemaker, J. M., Kim, A., Homsi, G., Horn, E., & Baum, L. E. (2020). An investigation of definitions of experimental vaping among youth. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 6(4).