Predictors of polysubstance vaping in emerging adults


Polysubstance use, which increases the risk for negative consequences of substance use, is common among emerging adults who regularly consume substances by vaping. Examining predictors of polysubstance vaping is crucial for understanding whether this novel form of substance consumption lends itself equally efficaciously to established forms of intervention for smoked substances.


The current study aimed to examine whether modifiable cognitive risk factors for increased vaping in the form of attitudes, expectancies and norms can predict co-use of nicotine and cannabis among vapers over and above the effect of demographics, personality risk factors and anxiety, depression symptoms.


Regular nicotine and cannabis vapers between 18 and 30 years were recruited online in Canada via a Qualtrics panel. Hierarchical binary logistic regression was used to predict membership in a polysubstance or a single substance vaping group. Demographics, personality risk factors, depression and anxiety symptoms were included as predictors in block 1; attitudes, expectancies and perceived norms of vaping were added in block 2.


Attitudes, expectancies and norms predicted polysubstance use over and above the effect of demographics, personality risk factors and anxiety, depression symptoms. Positive expectancies played a uniquely significant role in the prediction of polysubstance vaping.


Cognitive interventions targeting attitudes, expectancies and norms may be effective in prevention of polysubstance vaping, although positive expectancies appear to be the main unique factor that has an influence above and beyond all other cognitive factors related to vaping. Treatment and prevention programs should put special focus on lowering positive expectancies.


Attitudes; Cognitive behavior therapy; Expectancies; Norms; Polysubstance use; Prevention; Vaping.

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