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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Iowa: Study Finds Most High School E-cigarette Users Report Other Substance Use

A new study led by University of Iowa and University of Washington researchers has found that nearly all U.S. high school students who use e-cigarettes also use other substances, including alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco products.

The researchers used data from the 2017 Youth Behavioral Factor Surveillance System survey, which asked a national sample of 9th through 12th grade students about key health behaviors, including substance use. Based on responses from 11,244 adolescents, the researchers found that approximately 12 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Ninety-three percent of e-cigarette users also reported using another substance in the past 30 days, with alcohol being the most common. Nearly half reported past 30-day use of all four substances: e-cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco.

The investigators also identified several socio-demographic factors associated with e-cigarette poly-substance use. Being male, being in grades 11 and 12, reporting lower academic achievement, and self-identifying as bisexual were each associated with significantly higher odds of e-cigarette poly-substance use. In contrast, minority race/ethnicity was associated with lower odds of e-cigarette poly-substance use compared to white peers.

The research team included Dr. Paul Gilbert and Dr. Rima Afifi from the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, along with Dr. Christine Kava, a University of Iowa alumna who’s currently at the Health Promotion Research Center, Department of Health Services, University of Washington.

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