Title

Preferring more e-cigarette flavors is associated with e-cigarette use frequency among adolescents but not adults

Abstract

Introduction: Many e-cigarette users find the variety of e-cigarette flavors appealing. We examined whether preferences for e-liquid flavors and the total number of flavors preferred differed between samples of adolescent and adult e-cigarette users. We also examined whether these preferences were associated with e-cigarette use frequency for adolescents or adults, respectively.

Materials and methods: The analytic samples comprised 1) 396 adolescent, past-month e-cigarette users from 5 Connecticut high schools who completed an anonymous, school-based survey in Fall 2014 (56.1% male; 16.18 [1.18] years; 42.2% past-month smokers), and 2) 590 adult, past-month e-cigarette users who completed an anonymous, MTurk survey in Fall 2014 (53.7% male; 34.25 [9.89] years; 51.2% past-month smokers).

Results: Compared to adults, a larger proportion of adolescents preferred fruit, alcohol, and “other”-flavored e-liquids, whereas adults disproportionately preferred tobacco, menthol, mint, coffee, and spice-flavored e-liquids (p-values < .05). Adults also preferred a greater total number of flavors compared to adolescents and used e-cigarettes more frequently (p-values < .001). Flavor preferences uniquely were associated with frequency of e-cigarette use within the adolescent sample; the total number of flavors preferred was associated with more days of e-cigarette use (ηp2 = 0.04), as were preferences for fruit (ηp2 = 0.02), dessert (ηp2 = 0.02), and alcohol-flavored (ηp2 = 0.02) e-liquids.

Conclusions: Flavor preferences differed between adolescent and adult samples. While youth reported less frequent e-cigarette use overall, their preferences for specific flavors and the total number of flavors preferred were associated with more days of e-cigarette use, indicating that flavor preferences may play an important role in adolescent e-cigarette use.

Publisher

Public Library Science

Publication Date

1-4-2018

Publication Title

PLoS ONE

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0189015

Keywords

Electronic cigarettes, Young adults, Preferences, Smokers, Brands, Impact, Youth

Language

English

Format

text

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