Teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky and exciting experiences, are the ones more likely to use multiple illicit substances regularly, including nicotine.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study suggests that strategies to prevent teen vaping should be different than the ones set in place to decrease smoking rates. The research team analyzed questionnaires by 2,487 high school students in Pittsburgh Public Schools, which asked questions about how often the students used e-cigarettes and/or tobacco products.
They analysed the responses in the context of whether any of the four “protective factors” were present. The protective factors examined were:
- Future orientation: A person’s beliefs, hopes and goals related to the future.
- Parental monitoring: Parent-child interactions and communication.
- Social support: The ability to rely on friends and peers.
- School connectedness: A sense of belonging and inclusion at school.
The findings indicated that positive future orientation and high levels of parental monitoring were linked to a 10% to 25% lower prevalence of e-cig use, compared to peers with lower scores in these two factors. However, no link was observed between social support or school connectedness and vaping.
Teens craving excitement are more likely to use multiple substances
Another study of high school seniors in the U.S., found that teens who crave excitement are more likely to use multiple illicit substances, including tobacco and vaping products. Researchers Kevin Tan and Douglas C. Smith, both professors of social work at the University of Illinois, found that those teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky and exciting experiences, are the ones more likely to use multiple illicit substances regularly, including nicotine. Additionally, reported the study, the participants’ attitude towards vaping also reflected how they viewed other substances.
Those who considered vaping to be relatively harmless, were more likely to smoke, drink and use other drugs. Referred to as “polysubstance users” by the researchers, these teens scored the highest in sensation seeking.