Vaping products, or “vapes,” remain the most commonly used tobacco product among youth and young adults in the United States. In 2020, we used social media advertisements to recruit current vape users aged 15 to 20 years in New York State. The online survey assessed vaping behaviors, dependence, harm perceptions, and cessation-related outcomes. Disposable vapes were the most commonly used type of vapes. Nearly 75% reported using flavored vapes, and 40.6% reported using vapes with 5% or more nicotine content. Most (89.0%) believed vaping nicotine causes “some” or “a lot of harm,” while only 49.8% reported that vaping cannabis was similarly harmful. Nearly all (90.4%) reported a desire to quit vaping, and behaviors indicative of dependence on vaping were common. Youth and young adult vapers in New York State frequently reported use of disposable vapes, flavored vapes, and vapes with high nicotine concentrations. While nearly all identified vaping nicotine as harmful, less than half reported that vaping cannabis was harmful. We found evidence of dependence on vaping and widespread desire to quit. Findings provide insights regarding vaping behaviors and perceptions during the COVID-19 pandemic and following implementation of state and federal tobacco control restrictions.
Key words: Adolescent, young adult, vaping, nicotine, cannabis, tobacco products, COVID-19, policy.
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