Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS): Substances used by college students

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American Public Health Association 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo

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Background: Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have become popular among young adults. Although ENDS was created as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes by vaporizing a liquid mixture of nicotine, there has been a rising use of cannabis as the vaping substance. This study examined the use of ENDS among college students and substances they commonly vape.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of undergraduate students at San Jose State University via online survey to assess ENDS use (N = 339). Participants were asked about past ENDS use and what substance(s) they have vaped.

Results: 39% of the participants reported vaping at least one substance in the past 30 days. The most common substances that participants reported vaping in the past 30 days were cannabis (34.9%), nicotine (26.7%), and flavor (19.2%). Just over half (51.1%) of the participants who reported vaping in the past 30 days endorsed only one substance, with 69.4% vaping cannabis, 16.7% vaping nicotine, and 11.1% vaping flavor. Among those who reported vaping multiple substances, co-use was most common for nicotine users: 62.8% also reported vaping cannabis and 57.7% also vaped flavor.

Conclusion: In the context of legal recreational cannabis in California, cannabis was the most popular substance vaped by ENDS users. In light of the vaping lung injury epidemic, understanding how young people vape multiple substances is imperative. Further studies should be done to assess the simultaneous use of nicotine and cannabis among ENDS users.


College Students, Public Health Research


Public Health and Recreation