Why Teens Vape

E-cig flavorings may be the reason many American teens vape

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) What are teens vaping for — nicotine or flavors?

The use of electronic cigarettes by adolescents has increased dramatically in the last few years, but little is known on the specific details on what exactly these teens are vaping. 

In fact, in 2015, 16 percent of 12th graders, 14 percent of 10th graders and 10 percent of eighth graders reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days — compared to only 1 percent in 2011, according to a new study. 

According to this new research, published in Tobacco Control, US teens may be vaping for the flavors and not for nicotine. E-cigs are battery-powered devices that heat a flavored solution, which often contains nicotine, to create a vapor the user inhales.

The researchers behind this study surveyed nearly 15,000 students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades as part of the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey. 

The survey revealed that about 60 percent of teens surveyed reported vaping "just flavoring" at last use. This was across the board for all three grade levels. 

The survey also revealed that about 13 percent of eighth graders and 20 percent of 10th and 12 graders vaped for nicotine, the primary addictive chemical in tobacco.

This data suggests messages meant to discourage nicotine use may not be effective because most teens are vaping "just flavoring" and believe they are not using nicotine. However, these researchers noted that using e-cigarettes or another vaping device has been linked to increased nicotine and tobacco use.

Speak to your child about vaping and the dangers it may pose.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded this study. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 26, 2016
Last Updated:
September 2, 2016