Teens vaping flavoured juices for weight control
The use of e-cigarettes with flavoured juices for weight-related reasons appears to be common among adolescents, according to a new study.
“To inform effective programme development, we must understand adolescents’ motivations for vaping,” said researchers. Thus, the present study “examined the prevalence and correlates of using flavoured e-liquids for appetite control and weight loss in adolescents.”
The researchers administered a school-based survey to 529 students (mean age, 16.27±1.18 years; 50.6 percent female), most of whom were white (79.5 percent) and vaped e-liquids containing nicotine (81.4 percent). Within the past 30 days, participants vaped for a mean of 12.91±11.03 days, and 21.0 percent reported smoking combustible cigarettes. [Addict Behav 2020;102:106139]
Each participant used an average of 2.79±1.80 e-liquid flavour, chosen from a wide variety of flavours. Fruit emerged as the most popular e-juice (69.8 percent), followed by mint (53.9 percent), candy (35.3 percent), vanilla (21.0 percent) and tobacco (20.0 percent). Spice (5.1 percent) and alcohol (7.2 percent) flavours had the lowest engagement.
Adolescents offered an average of 2.65±1.80 reasons each as to why they vaped flavoured juices, the most common of which was because they tasted good (76.2 percent) and that they tasted better than cigarettes (35.0 percent).
Notably, 13.8 percent of the respondents said they vaped flavoured e-liquids for appetite control, and 9.3 percent offered weight loss as a reason.
“[I]t is worth noting that, contrary to motives like ‘[flavours] taste good,’ which are applicable to all e-cigarette users, weight-related motives only are relevant to individuals who are trying to lose or maintain weight,” the researchers said, noting that when zeroing in on this subpopulation, the rates of flavoured e-liquid use for weight management “likely is considerable.”
Additionally, logistic regression analysis identified key characteristics of adolescents who use flavoured e-juices for appetite control. Controlling for demographic covariates, the model found that these teens vaped significantly more frequently (odds ratio [OR], 1.21; p=0.004) and used a significantly greater number of flavours (OR, 1.33; p<0.001).
Teens who vaped flavoured liquids for weight loss likewise vaped more frequently (OR, 1.21; p=0.01) and used more flavours (OR, 1.28; p<0.001).
“In sum, the current study suggests that a subset of adolescents is vaping flavoured e-liquids for weight-motivated reasons,” the researchers said. “Importantly, these adolescents vaped more frequently than those who did not report weight-related flavour use, raising concerns about increased nicotine exposure.”
“Future research should evaluate where adolescents learn about weight-related vaping and whether weight-related motives promote e-cigarette initiation or continued/escalating use among current users,” they noted, adding that there is also a need for informational interventions addressing the “unsubstantiated” use of e-cigarettes for weight management.