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A Comprehensive Investigation of ENDS Use in Adolescents

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Mark Rubinstein, M.D.
Award Cycle: 2015 (Cycle 24) Grant #: 24XT-0007 Award: $248,535
Subject Area: Regulatory Science/New Products
Award Type: Exploratory/Developmental Award

Initial Award Abstract

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), like e-cigarettes, use among teens is increasing rapidly and there is significant use among non-traditional cigarette smokers. To date, there are a paucity of studies examining adolescent ENDS use over time, making it nearly impossible to evaluate the effects of ENDS use on adolescent health, smoking behavior, or addiction. Of critical importance is whether ENDS use promotes nicotine addiction in teens. Of equal importance is how these products affect traditional cigarette use in teens who have never smoked cigarettes. It is also important to explore possible health effects, such as determining the presence or absence of potential carcinogens associated with ENDS use. This pilot study seeks to understand patterns of ENDS use in 100 teens (12-17 years of age) over time, the development of dependence symptoms, and relationships between ENDS and cigarette use among adolescents.

Specifically we will study 1) how, when and why teens use ENDS versus cigarettes, 2) the development of nicotine dependence symptoms over time in ENDS, 3) look for the presence of carcinogenic toxins linked to ENDS.

Given the increasing use of ENDS in teens, it is essential that we understand teen’s use of ENDS. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of ENDS use in teens over time, uniquely positioning us to evaluate the effects of ENDS on the development of nicotine addiction and the possible start of traditional cigarette smoking in teens. Additionally, the measurement toxins in the urine will provide early information on cancer causing toxin exposure in ENDS users. Answering these questions is an essential first step towards understanding how ENDS use impacts adolescent health over time.