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Prevalence and correlates of adolescents’ e-cigarette use frequency and dependence



Understanding predictors of e-cigarette use among adolescents in the context of wide availability and extreme popularity of these products is important for prevention and treatment. This study identifies correlates of e-cigarette use frequency and dependence among adolescent users.


Adolescent e-cigarette users (N = 173) were recruited from the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants reported demographic and psychosocial characteristics, e-cigarette use behaviors, and cigarette use. Bivariate relationships between potential correlates were examined, and correlates significant at p < .10 were included in full models predicting frequency and dependence.


In the full models, frequent use was associated with receiving one's first e-cigarette from a family member rather than a friend (r = -0.23, p < .001) or a store ( = -0.13, p = .037), using nicotine in all e-cigarettes versus some e-cigarettes (r = -0.17, p = .007) or unknown nicotine use (r = -0.15, p = .014), using a customizable device versus a Juul (r = -0.22, p < .001), vape pen (r = -0.20, p = .002), or other/unknown device (r = -0.16, p = .009), and friends' e-cigarette use (r = 0.20, p = .002). Dependence was associated with younger age of first use (r = -0.18, p = .012), friends' use (r = 0.18, p = .01), and recent cigarette use (r = 0.17, p = .019).


When assessing problematic e-cigarette use among adolescents, it is important to consider social factors (e.g., friends' and family members' e-cigarette use), device type, and dual use with cigarettes.

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