Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as part of the Health Effects of Vaping funding opportunity, a multidisciplinary research team of co-investigators and community partners, will be led by Dr Stephanie Coen at the University of Nottingham and Dr Jason Gilliland at Western University.
Candid discussions about vaping will be encouraged via online focus groups, where teenagers can use avatars and pseudonym screen names to facilitate anonymous participation.
The researchers aim to gather data on teen vaping, in the hope of developing research and educational resources that resonate with them. The research team hopes to understand how factors such as gender, race, socio-economic circumstances, locality and even the current COVID-19 situation, effect teens’ e-cig use behavior.
The study will be looking into the roles that school, home, online sources and retail environments, play in influencing teen vaping. Candid discussions about vaping will be encouraged via online focus groups, where teenagers can use avatars and pseudonym screen names to facilitate anonymous participation.
When satisfactory data are compiled, the researchers will collaborate with teenagers to develop an age appropriate creative communications campaign, such as a short film or comic strip, in order to deliver the study’s findings effectively.
Canada’s efforts to combat teen vaping
In the past months, Canada has increased efforts to curb teen vaping. These were a result of survey data released last December, indicating that nearly one-third of high school students in Alberta and Quebec, and one in four in Ontario, had vaped in the past month. The province of British Columbia also saw increases, but these were not as high as in the other provinces.
As part of the yearly COMPASS survey on health behavior of high school students, the survey is believed to be the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada. The data gathered from this survey are made available to researchers and policy makers studying youth behavior with regards to substance use.
“E-cigarette use has increased across all students regardless of their gender, grade, ethnicity or smoking status,” wrote the researchers in a summary of their findings, prepared for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Quebec was found to have the highest rates of vaping in 2018-19, with 32% of students saying they used e-cigarettes in the past month, up from 27% in the 2017-18 school year. Nearly 60% of Quebec students said they had tried vaping at least once in 2018-19, in comparison to 52% the previous year.
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