E Leaf Melo e-cigarette

How do young people use e-cigarettes?

Image CC BY-SA Ecig Click

Man exhaling vapor from e-cig

What meanings are associated with e-cigarette use?

Image CC BY-SA Ecig Click

Man breaking cigarette in half

For young people, do e-cigarettes encourage or discourage tobacco use?

Image CC BY TBEC Review

E-cigarettes & youth cultures

Concerns about the emergence and growing popularity of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes and vaping systems have been raised by the public health community. Three specific concerns related to ENDS have emerged in the literature as relevant for adolescents and young adults: (1) ENDS may threaten tobacco denormalization efforts that are intended to make smoking socially unacceptable, (2) ENDS may be used together with, not in place of, conventional cigarettes (dual-use), and (3) ENDS may serve as a gateway into smoking. To date, these concerns are largely speculative because too little research has investigated their relevance for young people. This study takes a socio-cultural approach to understanding meanings associated with ENDS use, relationships between ENDS and conventional smoking, and ENDS practices for California adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15-25. We want to hear how young people think about these devices from their own perspectives.

    • “Now it’s like e-cigarettes: ‘We’re not trying to get you to stop smoking. We’re just trying to get you back into society with your smoking.’ Now it smells pretty.” (Young woman, CA tobacco study)
    • “[E-cigs] do help you quit…I like my oil pen because of the fact that even when I’m smoking, I get flavor…I really ditched my cigarettes…now I just smoke my pen.” (Young man, CA tobacco study)
    • "White kids smoke with the Camels... or the e-cigs now that I think about it" (Young woman, CA tobacco study)

Research Team

Tamar Antin, Principal Investigator
Geoffrey Hunt, Co-Investigator
Rachelle Annechino, Dissemination Lead

This project is housed in the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.


This research is supported by funds from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), grant number 24RT-0019. The content provided here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of TRDRP.