Nicotine and cannabis vaping among adolescents in treatment for substance use disorders

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2021 Jun:125:108304. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108304. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


This study examined nicotine and cannabis vaping among adolescents in treatment for substance use disorders. Participants were 363 adolescents aged 12-17 (66% male, mean age = 15.5 [SD = 1.3], 46% non-Hispanic white) seen for a specialty addiction intake evaluation between 2017 and 2019 at one of six medical offices of a large, integrated health care system in Northern California. Multivariable logistic regression models tested for associations of sociodemographics, cigarette smoking, and substance use disorders with vaping behaviors. A majority of adolescents reported ever (68%) or current vaping (60%) of nicotine and/or cannabis; current vaping was similar for nicotine (50%) and cannabis (51%); 40% reported current vaping of both. Current smokers (6% of the sample) had higher odds of ever vaping (aOR = 3.95, 95%CI: 1.04-14.95). Black (versus non-Hispanic white) adolescents had lower odds of current nicotine vaping (aOR = 0.08, 95%CI: 0.02-0.37) and current vaping of both nicotine and cannabis (aOR = 0.12, 95%CI: 0.03-0.60). Having an alcohol use disorder was associated with current vaping (aOR = 2.14, 95%CI: 1.06-4.33). Those who endorsed that most friends get drunk/high (aOR = 1.87, 95%CI: 1.02-3.42) or that cannabis was their substance of choice (aOR = 2.36, 95%CI: 1.16-4.81) had higher odds of current cannabis vaping. Higher neighborhood household income ($80,000-$120,000 and >$120,000 vs. <$80,000, aORs = 2.05-9.48), never versus ever blunt use (aORs = 2.47-8.68), and intakes in 2018 and 2019 versus 2017 (aORs = 2.18-5.38) were associated with higher odds of all vaping outcomes. Vaping was common among adolescents in addiction treatment and varied with sociodemographics and substance-related factors. Research should assess how vaping impacts the development of substance use disorders and whether it interferes with addiction treatment.

Keywords: Addiction treatment; Adolescents; Cannabis; E-cigarette; Nicotine; Vaping.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cannabis*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Vaping*


  • Nicotine