US Adults' Perceptions About the Harms of Nicotine in Electronic Vapor Products on the Adolescent Brain, United States, 2016–2017

Henraya McGruder, PhD, MS; Kimp Walton, MS; Saida Sharapova, MD, MPH; Brian A. King, PhD, MPH


Prev Chronic Dis. 2020;17(3):e27 

In This Article


We used data from 2016 (N = 4,186; response rate, 68%) and 2017 (N = 4,066; response rate, 74%) during June and July of both years from SummerStyles, an internet panel survey among adults aged 18 years or older fielded by Porter Novelli (Omnicon Group, New York, New York). Data were weighted to the US adult population based on sex, age, annual household income, race/ethnicity, household size, education, US region, metropolitan status, and internet access.

Perceptions about the harm of nicotine in EVP on the developing adolescent brain were assessed by the question, "Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with the following statement: Nicotine in electronic vapor products can harm a teenager's developing brain." Response options were "strongly disagree," "somewhat disagree," "neither agree nor disagree," "somewhat agree," and "strongly agree."

Perceptions were assessed using point estimates and 95% confidence intervals; χ 2 tests were used to determine significant (P < .05) differences. Assessed covariates were sex, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, annual household income, marital status, US region, children <18 years of age living in household, cigarette smoking status, and EVP use status.

Current cigarette smokers were defined as respondents who smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, and smoked cigarettes "every day" or "some days" when surveyed. Former cigarette smokers were respondents who smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, and who smoked "not at all" when surveyed. Never cigarette smokers had not smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.

Current EVP users were defined as respondents who ever used an EVP ("e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, e-hookahs, and hookah pens, such as blu, NJOY, or Starbuzz") even once and used EVP within the 30 days preceding the survey. Former EVP users were respondents who ever used an EVP, but not within the past 30 days. Never EVP users were respondents who reported never using an EVP, even just one time.