Background: Adolescent e-cigarette use (i.e., "vaping") likely confers risk for developing nicotine dependence. However, there have been no studies assessing e-cigarette nicotine dependence in youth. We evaluated the psychometric properties of the 4-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Nicotine Dependence Item Bank for E-cigarettes (PROMIS-E) for assessing youth e-cigarette nicotine dependence and examined risk factors for experiencing stronger dependence symptoms.
Methods: In 2017, 520 adolescent past-month e-cigarette users completed the PROMIS-E during a school-based survey (50.5% female, 84.8% White, 16.22[1.19] years old). Adolescents also reported on sex, grade, race, age at e-cigarette use onset, vaping frequency, nicotine e-liquid use, and past-month cigarette smoking. Analyses included conducting confirmatory factor analysis and examining the internal consistency of the PROMIS-E. Bivariate correlations and independent-samples t-tests were used to examine unadjusted relationships between e-cigarette nicotine dependence and the proposed risk factors. Regression models were run in which all potential risk factors were entered as simultaneous predictors of PROMIS-E scores.
Results: The single-factor structure of the PROMIS-E was confirmed and evidenced good internal consistency. Across models, larger PROMIS-E scores were associated with being in a higher grade, initiating e-cigarette use at an earlier age, vaping more frequently, using nicotine e-liquid (and higher nicotine concentrations), and smoking cigarettes.
Conclusion: Adolescent e-cigarette users reported experiencing nicotine dependence, which was assessed using the psychometrically sound PROMIS-E. Experiencing stronger nicotine dependence symptoms was associated with characteristics that previously have been shown to confer risk for frequent vaping and tobacco cigarette dependence.
Keywords: Addiction; Adolescent; Dependence; E-cigarette; Electronic cigarette; Nicotine; Youth.
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