Abstract: An Enticing Vape Culture: Interest in Vaping and Its Ties to Friends' Vape Use (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

281 An Enticing Vape Culture: Interest in Vaping and Its Ties to Friends' Vape Use

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Jaleeza Perez, BA, Undergraduate Student, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
H. Isabella Lanza, PhD, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Despite a lack of evidence to support whether etobacco use/vaping is a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking, the vaping community has grown tremendously in recent years particularly among young adults. The industry’s aggressive marketing has targeted younger populations with messages that vaping is cool and increases popularity. Understanding what motivates young adults to initiate vaping is vital in order to prevent the further spread of this trendy health risk behavior. Because vaping has garnered a reputation for being a social activity, it’s important to examine whether a person’s exposure to vape use through friends may increase his/her willingness to begin vaping.

Participants were undergraduates at California State University, Long Beach. They were recruited in the 2015-2016 academic year from public space on campus. Participants completed a survey on an electronic tablet focused on health-risk behaviors among young adults with an emphasis on etobacco use/vaping. Participation is ongoing and will be completed in spring 2016 with a total of 400 participants. Current analyses used data from 161 participants (M=21.42 ± 2.56 years; 62.5% female; 40.4% Latino, 29.4% Asian/Pacific Islander, 18.4% Caucasian; 3.7% African American).

In the current sample 38.1% of participants reported vaping. A one-way ANOVA was conducted to assess whether willingness to try etobacco products/vaping in the future differed based on the percentage of friends who vape. Findings indicated that willingness to try differed significantly based on percentage of friends that vape, F(3, 156) = 6.89, p <.001. Post-hoc contrasts revealed that participants that would like to try vaping in the future (and hadn’t used etobacco products yet) had a significantly greater percentage of friends that vape compared to all other groups, including those that didn’t want to try vaping (p < .001), those that weren’t sure (p < .01), and those that had already vaped (p < .01). Participants willing to try vaping in the future had between 35-40% more friends that vape compared to other groups. 

Although we are only beginning to understand what influences young adults to initiate etobacco use/vaping, it appears that an interest in trying vaping in the future is related to the level of friends that vape. It makes sense that more exposure to vaping from friends would increase willingness to try vaping in the future, as there is an abundant literature already showing how peers influence each other’s health behaviors from adolescence into young adulthood. Linking potential vaping initiation to friends’ vaping use is an important first step for understanding the social motivations for vaping among young adults, which may ultimately inform prevention efforts that focus on reducing etobacco use.