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Many Young E-Cig Users Want to Stop Vaping—We Asked Them Why

Many Young E-Cig Users Want to Stop Vaping—We Asked Them Why

After years of the youth e-cigarette epidemic getting worse, 2020 finally started to reverse the trend. For the first time, data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey showed a decline in vaping in 2020, which showed 1.8 million fewer U.S. youth are using e-cigarettes compared to 2019.

This is encouraging news for your youngest employees, or for employees who are parents of children entering that high-risk age group. However, there’s still much work to be done to help more young e-cig users stop vaping.

About 50% of young e-cig users want to stop vaping

Factors driving e-cigarette cessation have been largely absent from policy debates, which have mostly focused on preventing youth from starting to vape. However, some surveys have started to examine e-cigarette cessation more closely. In general, they suggest that roughly half of young vapers want to quit.

But the question of why young users want to stop vaping is crucial for designing effective, relevant programs that help them meet that goal. So, we conducted research to get answers.

Major findings

In a recent study published in Addictive Behaviors, we examined a sample of 2,000 young treatment seekers, ranging in ages from 13 to 24, who enrolled in a text message vaping cessation program in 2019.

We found that young people trying to stop vaping were motivated by a diversity of reasons, including health, financial cost, personal freedom, social pressure, and decreased performance in academics, sports, and other pursuits:

  • More than 50% cited health-related reasons for wanting to quit, and one notable comment was, “I want my lungs back.”
  • 21% cited financial cost as a factor, such as, “I don’t have enough money to feed my addiction.”
  • 16% felt a loss of control and wanted freedom from addiction, with one respondent stating, “i hate juuling. it’s taking over my life.”
  • 10% cited social influence as a major factor, including, “it’s affecting my friendships.”
  • 8% were quitting because of decreased performance, for example, “I can feel the effects in school … I have a hard time focusing and concentrating.”

These results highlight the many ways in which young vapers saw e-cigarettes as a barrier to their quality of life. They signed up for a program to help them quit because their addiction was preventing them from the life they wanted to live. They felt ripple effects across friendships, family relationships, physical and emotional health, and financial wellbeing.

Implications for employers

For employers who don’t have many young workers, it might be tempting to think these results aren’t relevant to their organizations. But keep those ripple effects in mind.

Employees with children who use e-cigs feel the impact of this addiction on their kids, and it weighs on their mind during work. They’re eager to help them get out of that trap. That’s why having a cessation program geared specifically toward young e-cig users is vital for both young adult employees who vape, as well as parents of kids who vape and are looking for solutions to help their families.

For those who don’t have kids and don’t use e-cigs themselves, vaping is still a bigger concern in the workplace than many people might think. A majority of workers say vaping at work bothers them and feel that exposure to others’ second-hand vaping is harmful to their health.

For more insights into the impact of vaping in the workplace, please see our latest published research: in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine:

How employers can help employees and their families stop vaping

The EX Program provides support to parents of kids who vape, as well as tailored support to young adults directly.

After years of increasing prevalence, young people are now turning away from e-cigarettes. Over half of young adult users say they want to quit. Their reasons vary, but nicotine addiction is the common barrier standing in the way of that goal. Connecting them with tools, resources, and support will help them get there.

To learn more about the support to quit e-cigarettes offered through the EX Program, please contact us or start a chat with one of our representatives.


Michael Amato, Ph.D.
Michael Amato, Ph.D.

Methodologist, Innovations

Dr. Michael Amato leads a data team responsible for analytics and reporting for the EX Program and our clients. Amato has published numerous research papers and regularly speaks on the use of digital cessation interventions to reduce smoking in the population. His expertise includes meaningful intervention engagement metrics, text analytics for user-generated content, and using unique methodology and opportunities in observational studies of online behavior. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, focusing on quantitative methods and behavior change communication. Amato is Assistant Professor of Medicine (adjunct) at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

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