Indicators of dependence and efforts to quit vaping and smoking among youth in Canada, England and the USA


Hammond, D., Reid, J., Rynard, V.L., O’Connor, R.J., Goniewicz, M.L., McNeill, A., Piper, M.E., Bansal-Travers, M. (2022). Indicators of dependence and efforts to quit vaping and smoking among youth in Canada, England, and the United States. Tobacco Control, 31, e25-e34. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-056269


Objective: The current study examined indicators of dependence among youth cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users in Canada, England and the USA, including changes between 2017 and 2019.

Methods: Data are from repeated cross-sectional online surveys conducted in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with national samples of youth aged 16-19 years, in Canada (n=12 018), England (n=11 362) and the USA (n=12 110). Measures included perceived addiction to cigarettes/e-cigarettes, frequency of experiencing strong urges to smoke/use an e-cigarette, plans to quit smoking/using e-cigarettes and past attempts to quit. Logistic regression models were fitted to examine differences between countries and changes over time.

Results: The proportion of ever-users who vaped frequently was significantly higher in 2019 compared with 2017 for all outcomes in each country. Between 2017 and 2019, the proportion of past 30-day vapers reporting strong urges to vape on most days or more often increased in each country (Canada: 35.3%, adjusted OR (AOR) 1.69, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.38; England: 32.8%, AOR 1.55, 1.08 to 2.23; USA: 46.1%, AOR 1.88, 1.41 to 2.50), along with perceptions of being 'a little' or 'very addicted' to e-cigarettes (Canada: 48.3%, AOR 1.99, 1.44 to 2.75; England: 40.1%, AOR 1.44, 1.03 to 2.01; USA: 53.1%, AOR 1.99, 1.50 to 2.63). Indicators of dependence among smokers were consistently greater than e-cigarette users, although differences had narrowed by 2019, particularly in Canada and the USA.

Conclusions: Prevalence of dependence symptoms among young e-cigarette users increased between 2017 and 2019, more so in Canada and the USA compared with England. Dependence symptom prevalence was lower for e-cigarettes than smoking; however, the gap has narrowed over time.