Predictors of Adolescents' Transition Through the Stages of Change for Quitting E-Cigarettes: Findings From the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study

Am J Health Promot. 2024 Jan 23:8901171231222077. doi: 10.1177/08901171231222077. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: To identify predictive factors associated with US adolescents' transition through the stages of change for potentially quitting e-cigarettes using the Trans-theoretical model of behavior change.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: United States.

Subjects: We utilized data from adolescents (12-17 years) in Wave 3 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study who used e-cigarettes exclusively over the past 30 days (n = 177) and were followed up with in Wave 4.

Measures: Outcome variables were 3 transition categories: those who remained stagnant, those who progressed, and those who regressed in their stage of quitting e-cigarettes. Predictor variables were socio-demographics, e-cigarette harm perception, e-cigarette use at home or by important people, social norms, e-cigarette and anti-tobacco advertisements, and e-cigarette health warnings.

Analysis: Weighted-adjusted multinomial regression analysis was performed to determine the association between predictor and outcome variables.

Results: From Wave 3 to Wave 4, 19% of adolescents remained stagnant; 73.3% progressed; and 7.7% regressed. Adolescents were less likely to progress in their stage of change if they perceived nicotine in e-cigarettes to be "not at all/slightly harmful" (AOR = .26 [95% CI: .25, .27], P < .001); reported important people's use of e-cigarettes (AOR = .18 [95% CI: .05, .65, P = .009); and "rarely" noticed e-cigarette health warnings (AOR = .28 [95% CI: .08, .98, P = .054).

Conclusion: Intervention efforts must target specific predictive factors that may help adolescents quit e-cigarettes.

Keywords: adolescents; cessation; e-cigarette; quitting; stages of change.