Awareness and determinants of electronic cigarette use among Finnish adolescents in 2013: a population-based study

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Abstract

Background

A wide range of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are now on the market. We studied e-cigarette awareness and use, determinants and sources of e-cigarettes, the e-liquids used in them and exposure to e-cigarette advertisements among adolescents in Finland. Among smokers, we studied the association of e-cigarette use and interest in smoking cessation.

Method

Data were obtained from a national survey of 12–18-year-old Finnish adolescents in 2013 (N=3535, response rate 38%). Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were used.

Results

Of the respondents, 85.3% knew what e-cigarettes were; 17.4% had tried them. E-liquids with nicotine were used most often (65.7%); also those who had never tried conventional cigarettes had used them. Of e-cigarette ever users, 8.3% had never tried smoking. Parents’ high level of education, being in employment, and intact family protected against children's e-cigarette use. In the final model, daily smoking (OR 41.35; 95% CI 25.2 to 67.8), snus use (2.96; 2.4–4.0), waterpipe use (2.21; 1.6–3.0), children's vocational education (2.06; 1.4–3.1) and poor school performance (1.92; 1.4–3.0) were associated with e-cigarette experimentation. Those smokers with most experience of e-cigarettes were least likely to consider smoking cessation.

Conclusions

Awareness and experimentation with e-cigarettes are high among adolescents, especially in older age groups and boys. Nicotine e-liquids are easy to acquire for youth. Having similar risk factors, e-cigarette use seems to follow the model of conventional smoking initiation. Among adolescent smokers, use of e-cigarettes does not clearly relate to interest in smoking cessation. Preventive policies are needed to protect the youth.

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