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


In 2017, 62.6% of adults agreed ("strongly agree" = 35.7% and "somewhat agree" = 26.9%) that nicotine in EVP harmed the developing adolescent brain; 3.7% somewhat disagreed, 4.4% strongly disagreed, and 29.3% neither agreed nor disagreed (Table 1). Prevalence of agreement was higher among women (65.2%) than men (59.9%) (P < .05), and ranged from 61.1% among 25- to 44-year-olds to 65.0% among adults aged 65 years or older (Table 2). By race/ethnicity, agreement ranged from 55.1% among non-Hispanic blacks to 64.5% among non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence of agreement generally increased with greater educational attainment and annual household income. Prevalence of agreement was higher among married adults (64.2%) than single adults (58.9%). By region, prevalence of agreement ranged from 60.5% in the South to 66.0% in the Midwest. Prevalence of agreement was higher among those who lived in households with children (64.4%) compared with those who did not (62.0%). Prevalence of agreement was 42.6% among current smokers, 60.2% among former smokers, and 68.9% among never smokers. Additionally, prevalence of agreement was 34.9% among current EVP users, 50.4% among former EVP users, and 65.4% among never EVP users.

The prevalence of agreement that nicotine harms the adolescent developing brain was higher in 2016 (68.5%) than 2017 (62.6%, P < .001) (Table 2). By covariates, prevalence of agreement was higher in 2016 compared with 2017 among males (65.5% to 59.9%; P = .002), females (71.2% to 65.2%; P < .001), 25- to 44-year-olds (68.1% to 61.1%; P = .001), and 45- to 64-year-olds (67.0% to 62.5%; P = .02). Differences in the prevalence of agreement also existed by education, annual household income, marital status, US region, children living in the household, cigarette smoking status, and EVP use status between 2016 and 2017.