Characteristics and changes over time of nicotine vaping products used by participants in the 2016 and 2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

Citation

Felicione, N., Fix, B., McNeill, A., Cummings, K.M., Goniewicz, M.L., Hammond, D., Borland, R., Heckman, B.W., Bansal-Travers, M., Gravely, S., Hitchman, S.C., Levy, D.T., Fong, G.T., O’Connor, R.J. (2021). Characteristics and changes over time of nicotine vaping products used by participants in the 2016 and 2018 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys. Tobacco Control, [Published online March 22, doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-056239].

Abstract

Objectives: Regulation of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) varies between countries, impacting the availability and use of these products. This study updated the analyses of O'Connor et al on types of NVPs used and examined changes in NVP features used over 18 months in four countries with differing regulatory environments.

Design: Data are from 4734 adult current vapers in Australia, Canada, England and the USA from Waves 1 (2016) and 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey. NVP characteristics included device description, adjustable voltage, nicotine content and tank size. Longitudinal analyses (n=1058) assessed movement towards or away from more complex/modifiable NVPs. A logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with changes in device description from 2016 to 2018.

Results: Like 2016, box-tanks were the most popular NVP (37.3%) in all four countries in 2018. Over 80% of vapers continued using the same NVP and nicotine content between waves, though movement tended towards more complex/modifiable devices (14.4% of vapers). Box-tank users, exclusive daily vapers and older vapers were most likely to continue using the same device description. Certain NVPs and features differed by country, such as higher nicotine contents in the USA (11.5% use 21+ mg/mL) and greater device stability over time in Australia (90.8% stability).

Conclusions: Most vapers continued using the same vaping device and features over 18 months. Differences in NVP types and features were observed between countries, suggesting that differing NVP regulations affect consumer choices regarding the type of vaping device to use.