Vaping and COVID-19 Risk: Perceived link and its correlates among at-risk adolescents
Rossheim, Matthew E.
0000-0003-4388-5251 (Rossheim, Matthew E.)
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Research shows that a significant number of adolescents and young adults quit vaping or reduced the amount of nicotine consumed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a lack of evidence on adolescent risk perceptions regarding the link between vaping and susceptibility to contracting COVID-19. This study examined the level of perceived COVID-19 risk due to vaping among at-risk adolescents. A sample (N = 1,251) of adolescents aged 13 to 17 and susceptible to future vaping were recruited through Qualtrics to participate in an online survey. More than two thirds of the sample (68.34%) reported that vaping would increase one's risk of contracting COVID-19. Ordinal logistic regression showed that this risk perception was positively associated with perceived prevalence of vaping among peers (AOR = 1.186, 95%CI = 1.019-1.382) and prior exposure to vaping product advertising (AOR = 1.371, 95%CI = 1.221-1.539), and negatively associated with past 30-day vaping (AOR = 0.579, 95%CI = 0.406-0.825) and number of closest friends who vaped (AOR = 0.873, 95%CI = 0.779-0.978). Further analysis stratified by past 30-day vaping showed that, among those who vaped in the past 30 days, vaping-related covid risk perception was positively associated with susceptibility to future vaping (AOR = 1.562, 95%CI = 1.161-2.101) and sensation-seeking (AOR = 1.212, 95%CI = 1.003-1.463). These results are open to different interpretations because of the cross-sectional nature of the data. Additional research is needed to better understand the observed relationships and their implications for vaping prevention during the pandemic.