Changes in marijuana and nicotine vaping perceptions and use behaviors among young adults since the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study

Kathleen R. Case, Stephanie L. Clendennen, Jay Shah, Joel Tsevat, Melissa B. Harrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Research is lacking on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marijuana vaping behaviors; a notable limitation as marijuana vaping has been previously associated with respiratory issues among young people. This qualitative study explored how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced vaping perceptions and behaviors among young adults (18 to 25-year-olds). Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 50 regular marijuana vapers. Individuals were eligible if they vaped marijuana at least 3 days per week (exclusively or dual use with nicotine). Interview transcripts were analyzed using deductive coding processes to identify themes. Differences in themes by gender and user status (regular marijuana versus regular dual vapers) were explored. Results: While many participants indicated that the pandemic negatively impacted their attitudes about vaping, participants also noted that their negative attitudes did not translate into reductions in use. Overall, 54% of participants reported increasing vaping during COVID-19. For both regular dual vapers and marijuana vapers, boredom was a prominent theme for increases in vaping. Lack of accessibility of marijuana was cited as a reason for decreasing marijuana among regular marijuana vapers but not for regular dual vapers. Males reported more unchanged attitudes about vaping and more males than females reported still sharing their devices. Conclusions: More than half of participants reported increasing their vaping behaviors since the COVID-19 pandemic despite concerns about the potential for vaping to adversely impact lung and immune health. As the U.S. adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions should address factors that may contribute to increases in use behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100408
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Marijuana
  • Vaping
  • Young adults
  • e-Cigarettes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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