Adolescent Weight and Electronic Vapor Product Use: Comparing BMI-Based With Perceived Weight Status

School of Public Health

Dr. Peter Hendricks, Associate Professor in the department of Health Behavior at the UAB School of Public Health, collaborated with a team of investigators from other institutions to examine the associations of BMI-based and perceived body weight status with electronic vapor product use, cigarette smoking, and dual use among U.S. adolescents.

A cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 2017 on data from 15,129 adolescents in the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2015. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations of BMI-based and perceived weight status with electronic vapor product use, cigarette smoking, and dual use, after adjusting for all other covariates. The regression models were stratified by gender.

Overall, 25.5% of males used electronic vapor products, 11.6% smoked cigarettes, and 8.1% used both; percentages among females were 22.6%, 9.8%, and 6.8%, respectively. Females who perceived themselves as overweight were more likely than those who perceived themselves as normal weight to be current electronic vapor product users (AOR=1.09, 95% CI=1.01, 1.19) and dual users (AOR=1.23, 95% CI=1.01, 1.49). When compared with normal BMI-based category, males with obese BMI status were more likely to be current cigarette smokers (AOR=1.61, 95% CI=1.06, 2.44), however, only females with overweight BMI status were more likely to be current smokers (AOR=1.89, 95% CI=1.25, 2.86).

Findings suggest that the influence of adolescents’ body weight perceptions and BMI-based status should be accounted for when developing nicotine-containing product use prevention programs for adolescents. Specific strategies for influencing female adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight should be included to prevent emerging electronic vapor product and dual use.

Full Article.