A Survey of Vaping Use, Perceptions, and Access in Adolescents from South-Central Texas Schools

Bretton A. Gilmore, Corbyn M. Gilmore, Kelly R. Reveles, Jim M. Koeller, Jodi H. Spoor, Bertha E. Flores, Christopher R. Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite efforts to dissuade major manufacturers and retailers from marketing and selling vape products to adolescents, the practice of vaping continues to increase in this population. Few studies have assessed adolescent perceptions of vaping, access to vaping, and use of vaping, and most rely, at least in part, on inferential conclusions drawn from data on smoking traditional combustible cigarettes. A novel electronic survey was created to assess the use of vapes, perceptions of vaping, and access to vaping among a convenience sample of adolescents (ages 12–20 years) in eleven schools in South-Central Texas from May to August 2021. The students’ perceived threat of negative health outcomes due to vaping was calculated based on questions soliciting perceptions of severity (perceived danger) and susceptibility (perceived likelihood of illness). Trends were identified using descriptive and bivariate statistical tests. A total of 267 respondents were included; 26% had tried vaping. A majority (63%) did not believe vaping and smoking were synonymous. Most (70%) thought it was easy to obtain supplies and (76%) vape before and after (88%) or even during (64%) school. Respondents who vaped had a 34% lower perceived threat when compared to respondents who did not vape. In this sample of adolescents from South-Central Texas, one in four reported that they had tried vaping. Easy access to vapes and misperceptions regarding the safety of vaping might create a false sense of security with respect to vaping as an alternative to smoking, particularly among those who reported vaping, and is likely contributing to the increased use of vapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6766
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Keywords

  • Texas
  • United States
  • adolescents
  • electronic cigarettes
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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