Limited research exists describing youth who use e-cigarettes on a regular basis, including knowledge of nicotine levels, health effects, and plans for future use. This qualitative study explored the patterns of use, social and familial norms, and perceptions of health effects among this group. Youth (N = 43), 14-17 years old, who described themselves as regular e-cigarette users, participated in 4 focus group discussions in Miami, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina in February 2016. Youth often initiated or continued e-cigarette use with a device obtained from a friend or family member, and often do not own their own device. They cite the flavors and doing tricks as the two main reasons they initially used e-cigarettes. Many reported that their family members are aware they use e-cigarettes, and that they have received implicit and explicit messages from family members that are positive toward ecigarette use. They are aware of the negative effects of nicotine, including addiction, but not confident that they are using e-liquids without nicotine. Participants reported they will stop using e-cigarettes when they become aware of reported negative health effects. Parents and family members are an important target audience for prevention campaigns and health messaging, given that their own use and acceptance could be encouraging initiation and continuation. Youth are using products containing nicotine and may be becoming addicted, even if they would not choose to use nicotine-containing e-juice. Increased awareness of negative health effects may encourage prevention and cessation of e-cigarette use among youth.
Youth who use e-cigarettes regularly
A qualitative study of behavior, attitudes, and familial norms