Young people try e-cigs more often - to deal with stress and anxiety

Flavours play less of a role in attracting teenagers to e-cigs. Curiosity, friends and a way to deal with stress and anxiety are more important factors, according to a major study.

Curiosity and peer influence are the main reasons why young people try e-cigarettes. Combined with stress and anxiety management. Several analyses from different countries show this. Ahead of a planned flavour ban, Canadian researchers published a comprehensive report on young people's vaping habits.

More complicated than flavours

The number of teenagers trying e-cigarettes has increased since researchers started tracking the trend in 2014. And despite legislation in many parts of the world focuses on flavours as the major reason for young people to try vaping products, the Canadian study points out that research on more complex factors. According to the researchers, this ranges from peer pressure and availability to a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. Also, group identity and risk behaviour plays an important role, following the same pattern as for regular smoking.

"Young people are aware of the risks involved in using the products but this seems to play less of a role in the decision to try them," Sarah Dow-Fleisner, who led the study, told the online magazine EurekaAlert.

Targeted restrictions work

The report is based on analyses of over 800 studies and focuses in part on the Canadian market, where e-cigarette legislation is still evolving. In countries where legislation has been in place longer, such as the UK, similar studies show that that very few young people who are former non-smokers use e-cigarettes regularly. And according to British health authorities targeted restrictions on marketing to young people, clear information on what e-cigarettes are and what the technology is used for, have worked well. According to UK research, the proportion of non-smoking young people who use e-cigarettes regularly is less than one per cent. However, the number of young people trying e-cigarettes is much higher.

Young smokers try e-cigs more often

In Sweden according to statistics from CAN the majority of secondary school students who have used e-cigarettes have only tried them once. One per cent of students in grades 1 and 2 of upper secondary school do it daily or almost daily. Almost half of the young people who try e-cigarettes regularly already use regular cigarettes. 

Swedish retailers are currently prohibited by law from marketing electronic cigarettes. outside their own websites. Exceptions apply to unregulated products such as nicotine-free e-juice.

Recently, Sweden's parliament against the government's proposal to ban flavourings in e-liquid and disposable models. The reasoning was that a sweeping ban would discourage harm minimisation.


UBCO researchers link advertising to uptick in youth vaping / EurekaAlert

Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain - ASH (Action on smoking and Health)

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