Examining the prevalence of nicotine vaping and association of major depressive episodes among adolescents and young adults by disability type in 2021

Addict Behav. 2024 May:152:107975. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2024.107975. Epub 2024 Jan 30.


Background: Nicotine vaping is more prevalent among U.S. adults with disabilities compared to those without disabilities. However, less is known about nicotine vaping among adolescents (12-17 years) and young adults (18-25 years) by disability status.

Methods: Using data from a sample of 24,722 adolescents and young adults (AYAs) from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, we conducted descriptive and multivariable analyses to estimate the national prevalence of nicotine vaping by disability type and examined major depressive episodes (MDEs) as a risk factor for nicotine vaping.

Results: A greater proportion of AYAs with disabilities engaged in past-month nicotine vaping compared to those without a disability (13.9 % vs 9.6 %, p = 0.0001). Also, when MDE was excluded from the model, AYAs with any disability had higher odds of nicotine vaping (AOR = 1.41; 95 % CI 1.15, 1.74) than those without a disability. However, disability status was no longer significant when MDE was included (AOR = 1.16; 95 % CI 0.91, 1.46) in the model.

Conclusions: The higher prevalence of nicotine vaping among AYAs with disabilities suggests that tailored messages may be needed to communicate health risks and adverse outcomes of e-cigarette use. Also, MDE is associated with nicotine vaping among AYA populations. This information can be helpful to school nurses, counselors, and mental health professionals in their screening of major depression as a risk factor for e-cigarette use.

Keywords: Adolescents; Disability; Major depressive episode; Nicotine vaping; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / epidemiology
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaping* / psychology
  • Young Adult