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10.1016_j.josat.2023.209038.pdf (463.34 kB)

Learning from their experiences: Strategies used by youth and young adult ex-vapers

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-01-07, 08:50 and posted on 2024-01-07, 08:54 authored by Mohammed Al-Hamdani, Myles Davidson, Danielle Bird, D. Brett Hopkins, Steven Smith


The prevalence of vaping among youth and young adults (YYAs; 16–18 and 19–24 years old, respectively) is moderate worldwide. Existing vaping cessation evidence lacks input from ex-vapers with a history of regular use and substantial maintenance periods. This study noted cessation strategies, relapse triggers, and recommendations for quitting identified by ex-vapers and assessed differences in outcomes across age and gender groups.


We recruited ex-vapers (N = 290; mean use = 6.5 days/week, SD = 1.05) with a minimum maintenance period of 30 days and a history of three months of consecutive use of nicotine-based devices from Nova Scotia, Canada. The ex-vapers responded to open-ended questions regarding vaping cessation strategies, triggers, and recommendations for quit strategies in an online survey. We coded responses to each topic (e.g., triggers) and grouped them into categories (e.g., social influences). We used chi-square tests and Bonferroni correction tests to determine group differences by topic and within each category.


YYA ex-vapers identified cold turkey (28.9 %), self-restriction (27.5 %), and alternative coping mechanisms (19.0 %) as the most common cessation strategies; social influences (35.5 %,), mental state (18.3 %), and substance use (15.7 %) as the top triggers; and support systems (29.5 %), apps (17.3 %), and education (11.8 %) as the most useful recommendations for others. A higher proportion of female youth (51.3 %) identified social influences as a relapse trigger than male YAs (21.2 %) and female YAs (30.3 %). Further, male YAs (36.5 %) reported higher proportions of substance use as a relapse trigger than male youth (3.0 %) and female youth (2.6 %). Female youth (23.7 %) and YAs (22.6 %) recommended apps as a useful cessation strategy more often than male YAs (3.8 %).


Input from ex-vapers can help to inform cessation practices, and gender and age differences shed light onto the need to tailor treatments, such as using social-centric behavioral therapy, for female youth and adopting a polysubstance substance use treatment approach for YAs.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Health Sciences - QU HEALTH

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