BACKGROUND:

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) electrically heat and vaporize e-liquids to produce inhalable vapors. These devices are being used to inhale vapors produced by dripping e-liquids directly onto heated atomizers. The current study conducts the first evaluation of the prevalence rates and reasons for using e-cigarettes for dripping among high school students.

METHODS:

In the spring of 2015, students from 8 Connecticut high schools (n = 7045) completed anonymous surveys that examined tobacco use behaviors and perceptions. We assessed prevalence rates of ever using e-cigarettes for dripping, reasons for dripping, and predictors of dripping behaviors among those who reported ever use of e-cigarettes.

RESULTS:

Among 1080 ever e-cigarette users, 26.1% of students reported ever using e-cigarettes for dripping. Reasons for dripping included produced thicker clouds of vapor (63.5%), made flavors taste better (38.7%), produced a stronger throat hit (27.7%), curiosity (21.6%), and other (7.5%). Logistic regression analyses indicated that male adolescents (odds ratio [OR] = 1.64), whites (OR = 1.46), and those who had tried multiple tobacco products (OR = 1.34) and had greater past-month e-cigarette use frequency (OR = 1.07) were more likely to use dripping (Ps < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings indicate that a substantial portion (∼1 in 4) of high school adolescents who had ever used e-cigarettes also report using the device for dripping. Future efforts must examine the progression and toxicity of the use of e-cigarettes for dripping among youth and educate them about the potential dangers of these behaviors.

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