Youth Observation of E-Cigarette Use in or Around School, 2019

  • Hongying Dai
    Address correspondence to: Hongying Dai, PhD, Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984375 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha NE 68198.
    Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska
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Published:December 19, 2020DOI:


      E-cigarette use increased dramatically among U.S. students during 2017–2019, and school plays an important role in preventing and reducing youth substance use. This study examines the prevalence and correlates of self-reported youth observation of e-cigarette use on school grounds.


      Data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (N=19,018) were analyzed to examine the prevalence and factors associated with youth observation of e-cigarette use in or around the school. Multivariable logistic regressions were performed to assess the associations between youth observation of e-cigarette use and the susceptibility to initiate cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Analyses were conducted in 2020.


      In 2019, about 63.9% of students (16.8 million) reported noticing youth use of e-cigarettes in or around the school, with bathroom or locker room as the most common location (33.2%). Female (versus male) students; high-school (versus middle-school) students; non-Hispanic Whites (versus other groups); former and past 30–day e-cigarette users (versus never users); students with exposure to tobacco marketing (versus none); and students living with a household member using e-cigarettes (versus not) had higher odds of reporting the observation of vaping in schools. Among never tobacco users (n=11,518), observation of vaping in schools was associated with higher odds of being susceptible to smoking cigarettes (AOR=1.2, 95% CI=1.0, 1.3) and using e-cigarettes (AOR=1.7, 95% CI=1.6, 1.9), especially among middle-school students.


      E-cigarette use is common on school grounds, and youth observation of vaping in schools may increase the risk of initiating tobacco use in the future. School vaping policy and education programs are needed to curb youth e-cigarette use.
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