Purpose: Use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among adults has flourished in recent years. However, little is known about their use among adolescents. This article reports on data collected from a New Zealand national youth tobacco use survey in 2012 and 2014.
Methods: The Youth Insights Survey is a biennial self-complete survey of Year 10 students (predominately aged 14-15 years), with a sample size of 3,127 in 2012 and 2,919 in 2014. Ever-use of e-cigarettes was self-reported by participants in both years, and in 2014, e-cigarette ever-users also reported their reasons for first trying e-cigarettes.
Results: The rate of e-cigarette ever-use tripled from 7.0% in 2012 to 20.0% in 2014. After adjusting for sociodemographic variables, smoking status (including susceptibility), and other factors associated with tobacco smoking uptake, e-cigarette ever-use was associated with gender, smoking status, close friends' smoking behavior, and risky substance use. Among smokers, desire for a cigarette, quit intention, or past-year quit attempts did not predict e-cigarette ever-use. Irrespective of smoking status, curiosity was the most commonly cited reason for trying e-cigarettes.
Conclusions: In 2014, one in five 14- to 15-year-olds had used e-cigarettes. Our data suggest that for adolescent smokers, cessation was not the main reason for trying e-cigarettes. Instead, most adolescents (smokers and nonsmokers) tried e-cigarettes out of curiosity. Our findings signal a need to continue monitoring the uptake of e-cigarettes among adolescents, including both experimental and long-term use. Controlling access and exposure to e-cigarettes among this young age group is also required.
Keywords: Co-substance use; Electronic nicotine delivery system; Surveillance and monitoring.
Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.