Nicotine and Nicotine-Free Vaping Behavior among a Sample of Canadian High School Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Youth vaping is a public health concern in Canada. Researchers have explored factors associated with vape use, but rarely differentiated between types of use. This study estimates the prevalence and correlations among past-month nicotine vaping, nicotine-free vaping, and dual-use vaping (nicotine and nicotine-free) in grades 9-12 high school students. Data came from the 2019 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS). The total sample consisted of 38,229 students. We used multinomial regression to assess for the correlations among different categories of vape use. Approximately 12% of the students reported past-month vape use exclusively with nicotine, 2.8% reported exclusively nicotine-free vape use, and 14% reported both nicotine vaping and nicotine-free vaping. Substance use (smoking, alcohol, cannabis) and being male were associated with membership in every category of vape use. Age was associated with vape use, but in different directions. Grade 10 and 11 students were more likely than grade 9 students to vape exclusively with nicotine (aOR 1.36; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.77 and aOR 1.46; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.97), while grade 9 students were more likely than grade 11 and 12 students to vape with both nicotine and nicotine-free vapes (aOR 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67, 0.99 and aOR 0.49; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.64). The prevalence of nicotine and nicotine-free vaping is high, with many students reporting the use of both.


e-cigarette use; epidemiology; nicotine vaping; nicotine-free vaping; vaping.

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