The Association Between Risk Behaviors and Vaping Among Youth in New Mexico

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2021 May-Jun;27(Suppl 3):S164-S167. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001318.


Context: Electronic-cigarette use, or vaping, among youth has increased substantially in recent years. Tobacco smoking shows a strong association with other risk behaviors, but the association between vaping and other risk behaviors has rarely been explored. We examine the relationship between youth vaping and substance use, risky driving behaviors, and lack of bicycle helmet use.

Program: Data from the 2015 and 2017 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey were analyzed to evaluate the association between the use of e-cigarettes and other youth risk behaviors. Study participants were high school students, grades 9 to 12. Logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Evaluation: A majority of students reported ever using e-cigarettes (54%). In 2015, e-cigarette users were more likely than nonusers to be Hispanic (65% vs 54%, P ≤ .001) and 16 years of age or older (58% vs 42%, P = .018). We found strong, statistically significant associations between e-cigarette use and not wearing a bicycle helmet (OR = 2.62, 95% CI: 1.95-3.51), texting while driving (OR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.79-2.66), driving after drinking (OR = 2.95, 95% CI: 1.61-5.40), current marijuana use (OR = 6.38, 95% CI: 4.65-8.76), current painkiller use (OR = 2.47, 95% CI: 1.63-3.77), and current heroin use (OR = 0.15, 95% CI: 0.06-0.33). Driving after drinking was not significantly associated with e-cigarette use in 2017.

Discussion: E-cigarette use is associated with multiple other risk behaviors among youth. Further research should focus on environmental and policy efforts to reduce access to e-cigarettes by youth as well as interventions that address the underlying causes of the constellation of risk behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Use*
  • New Mexico / epidemiology
  • Risk-Taking
  • Vaping*