Measuring characteristics of e-cigarette consumption among college students

J Am Coll Health. May-Jun 2019;67(4):338-347. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1481075. Epub 2018 Oct 5.


Objective: E-cigarette use among college students has increased drastically in recent years. This study aims to inform development of a comprehensive measure of e-cigarette consumption for this population. Participants and Methods: This mixed-method study collected both quantitative and qualitative data from a sample of 43 experienced e-cigarette users from two college campuses, using a self-reported questionnaire and a semi-structured interview, in March-September of 2017. Results: College student users found some of the consumption questions in national surveys difficult to answer. Switching nicotine levels, mixing flavors, co-using with alcohol and marijuana, using with others who were vaping or drinking, and vaping in a car or indoor space were all common. The participants defined "regular user" based on ownership of a device rather than on quantity/frequency. Conclusions: A comprehensive e-cigarette consumption measure should cover the complex characteristics that are potentially associated with negative health consequences such as flavorings, co-use and social contexts.

Keywords: College students; co-use; e-cigarette consumption; flavoring; marijuana; measurement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Self Report
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Vaping / epidemiology
  • Young Adult