Friday, August 18, 2023

More Than Three-Fourths of Adolescents Who Vape Have Tried to Quit

Most adolescents who vape have tried to quit at least once, a study in Addictive Behaviors has found. The study also revealed which vaping cessation methods that adolescents are interested in trying.

Emily Jones, M.D., of Boston University and colleagues analyzed the responses of 185 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years who completed online questionnaires about vaping. All participants had vaped at least 10 times in their lives prior to completing the questionnaire, 159 participants currently vaped, and 26 participants were former vapers. Current vaping was defined as vaping at least once a day in the last 30 days, and previous vaping was defined as not having vaped in the last 30 days.

Overall, 81.3% of the participants reported at least one prior attempt to quit vaping. Among those who tried to quit, 78.4% tried to quit unassisted (“cold turkey”), 51.9% reported following “advice from a friend,” 21.1% tried nicotine replacement products, 17.3% tried a text-message program, and 15.7% tried using social media.

Jones and colleagues wrote that it was “surprising” that more adolescents had not turned to social media to try to quit, given the ubiquity of social media and how often adolescents engage with it.

“It is possible that teens may not perceive social media as a way to obtain health advice, or that some of the anti-vaping public health messages on social media do not resonate with teens,” the researchers wrote. They added that the popularity of quitting cold turkey could reflect the lack of knowledge, interest, trust, or paucity of programs available to adolescents to help them quit vaping.

The participants were interested in using a variety of methods for quitting vaping in the future, as follows:

  • 71.6% were interested in quitting cold turkey
  • 67% were interested in taking advice from a friend
  • 44% were interested in using nicotine replacement products
  • 34.6% were interested in using mobile apps
  • 30.8% were interested in using a text-messaging program
  • 28.8% were interested in taking medication
  • 22.8% were interested in using social media
  • 16.2% were interested in using phone counseling
  • 13.5% were interested in participating in school-based programs

The researchers also found that greater perceived harm of vaping was significantly associated with motivation to quit vaping, while greater perceived risk of addiction and higher socioeconomic status were significantly associated with ever use of nicotine replacement to quit vaping.

“Together with our data on the correlates of use, these findings can serve as a first step for researchers to develop effective vaping cessation programs targeted to adolescents,” the researchers wrote.

For related information see the Psychiatric News Special Report “Vaping—A Call to Action for Psychiatrists.”

(Image: iStock/Bulat Silvia)

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