July 12, 2024

New Study Led by Teens Reveals Alarming Trends in Vaping Culture and Opportunities for Intervention

A recent study conducted by a group of adult and teenage researchers from Canada has shed light on the pervasive vaping culture among teenagers and the need for effective interventions. The findings, which will be published in the journal SSM – Qualitative Research and Health, highlight the worrying increase in teenage vaping and the challenges in curbing the use of e-cigarettes.

The study reveals that despite the legalization of vapes in Canada in 2018, teenage vaping rates have skyrocketed. Currently, 30% of teenagers report having tried vaping, and the rates have increased by nearly 120% between 2017 and 2021. This is concerning, especially considering the potential adverse effects of e-cigarette use on the cardiovascular system and cognitive functions such as impulse control and memory.

The research project aimed to gain insights into teenagers’ experiences with vaping and how they navigate this pervasive issue in their daily lives. To ensure the study captured the perspectives of teenagers themselves, the researchers took an unconventional approach by recruiting teenagers as co-researchers. The co-researchers underwent training on qualitative research methods and ethics before conducting focus group discussions with high school students between the ages of 13 and 19.

The findings uncovered several important themes. One notable finding was the exposure to vaping in school washrooms, with students describing the presence of “lemon and cotton candy fog.” Some expressed concerns about the health effects of being passively exposed to vapor, while others worried about being misunderstood as vapers themselves. In some cases, teachers removed the doors to boys’ washrooms to discourage vaping, but this did not deter the practice, as students found alternative locations or adopted stealthy techniques to vape in class.

The study also highlighted the role of peer pressure and easy access to vaping products. Participants mentioned that vaping-related content on social media was unavoidable, with influencers sharing videos of vaping tricks and contributing to the normalization of the practice. Students reported feeling pressured to vape to fit in with their peers, with older students often introducing younger ones to vaping. Easy access to vapes through older siblings or fellow students further exacerbated the issue.

The findings underscore the need for targeted interventions to prevent vaping among students. Traditional school-based prevention efforts have proven ineffective, as they often fail to address the evolving landscape of youth vaping. Students expressed the desire for evidence-based information on the long-term consequences of vaping to support their decision to abstain from it.

Overall, the study highlights the urgent need for interventions that are informed by the lived experiences of teenagers and tailored to address the specific challenges of the vaping culture. It is essential for adults to listen to teenagers’ concerns and work towards curbing the prevalence of vaping among this vulnerable population.

Note:

  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it