Do teens want to quit vaping?

Vaping has led to some serious erosion in the campaign to end adolescent nicotine use. What drives vaping cessation in this population?

Meant to help adult smokers quit, vaping ended up increasing the number of adolescents using nicotine, destroying the successes of anti-smoking campaigns. E-cigarette use-associated lung injury, which was first identified in 2019, showed that the devices carried additional health risks, making vaping cessation more important than ever. How often are teenagers attempting cessation and what drives them to attempt it?1

The investigators looked at the current, past 30-day, e-cigarette users who were included in the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey to look at the prevalence of intention to quit vaping, the number of past-year quit attempts, and the how frequent those quit attempts were.

There were 1660 users included in the cohort. In 2020, 53.4% of them reported an intention to quit and 67.4% reported an attempt to quit. The intention to quit was lower among users of a modifiable system as opposed to disposable e-cigarettes (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.4, P = .0204), dual or poly users (aOR = 0.7, P = .0144), and girls (aOR = 0.7, P = .0004). The perception of harm from e-cigarettes had a positive link to both an intention to quit (aOR = 2.2, P < .0001) as well as past-year quit attempts (aOR = 1.6, P = .0037). Investigators found that the reason a teenager used the device was related to his or her cessation behaviors. Teenagers who vaped because of curiosity had higher odds of past-year quit attempts (aOR = 1.4, P = .0306). Those who disguised vaping were found to have both a lower likelihood of intention to quit (aOR=0.4, P < .0001) and past-year quit attempts (aOR = 0.7, P = .0126). The mean number of quit attempts was 5.3.

The study’s results should be heartening to pediatricians who have worried about vaping in their adolescent patients. Both intention to quit and quit attempts are prevalent in the population. The findings should be considered when developing vaping cessation programs meant to help teenagers.


1. Dai H. Prevalence and factors associated with youth vaping cessation intention and quit attempts. Pediatrics. August 18, 2021. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1542/peds.2021-050164