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Vaping amongst adolescents: an alarming trend

Presented by
Dr Anu Linnansaari, University of Tampere, Finland
NLC 2022
According to Finnish research, there is a strong need to strengthen preventive policies on e-cigarettes to prevent adolescents to fall prey to the tobacco epidemic. This includes comprehensive and strict e-cigarette regulations, in line with all tobacco regulations.

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, especially among youngsters. “This is definitely a worrisome observation,” stated Dr Anu Linnansaari (University of Tampere, Finland). “Exposure to nicotine in adolescence can induce significant long-term deficits in the developing brain with an increased risk of impulsive behaviour, decreased attention, cognitive impairment, and a negative emotional state. Also, this may impose 3 times increased risk of smoking initiation.”

Dr Linnansaari investigated the use and social context of vaping among Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian adolescents aged 15–20 years. Four separate themes were addressed to gain more insights into this practice. The first theme was youth vaping as a social practice, which demonstrated that vaping among youngsters stood as an inherently social practice that was commonly interlinked with experimental and occasional use patterns. Investigating the second theme, appeal of low harm to health, showed that e-cigarettes were perceived as rather harmless, or at least less harmful than ordinary cigarettes and snuff. Occasional use and the so-called ‘innocent’ flavour additives added to this perception. From the appeal of product innovation, the third theme, it was made clear that innovative features facilitated new and playful use practices, again with the novelty and appeal of flavours playing a key role. Finally, the fourth theme, youths' digital lives offering new arenas for e-cigarettes, demonstrated that the use of e-cigarettes by youngsters was integrated into their digital lives. This is mainly encouraged by various social media channels, digital promotion, and availability as well as self-presentation of youngsters on digital platforms. Dr Linnansaari concluded that “considering youth culture, the innovative characteristics of the products, and the global phenomenon of the tobacco epidemic, it is vital to ensure effective tobacco prevention (including awareness) and healthcare practices such as cessation support [1].”

  1. Linnansaari A. E-cigarette use in Nordic adolescents: trends, youth’s own reflections and cross-country differences in legislation. Results from the NADNIC study. Nordic Lung Congress 2022, 01–03 June, Copenhagen, Denmark.


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