First E-Cigarette Flavor and Device Type Used: Associations with Vaping Persistence, Frequency, and Dependence in Young Adults

James D. Sargent, Mike Stoolmiller, Hongying Dai, Jessica L. Barrington-Trimis, Rob McConnell, Janet Audrain-Mcgovern, Adam M. Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Type of e-cigarette flavoring and device during first use might differentiate later e-cigarette use and dependence. This retrospective cross-sectional study examined associations of recalled first nicotine vaping device and flavor used with current vaping frequency/dependence. Aims and Methods: A young adult cohort from Los Angeles, California, USA completed web-based surveys (N = 2553). Using cross-sectional data from 971 reporting ever vaping nicotine, multivariable hurdle regressions tested associations between recalled first flavor (fruit/sweet, menthol/mint, other) and device (Juul, disposable, mod, box, pod, pen, other) vaped with past-30-day vaping status (yes/no) and frequency (1-30 days), and with any vaping dependence symptoms (yes/no) and count (1-10 symptoms). Results: The most common first-flavor was sweet (71%); the most common first-device was a vape pen (37%), then Juul (22%). First-flavor of mint/menthol (vs. other; adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 2.22[95% CI = 1.16 to 4.25]), and first-device mod (AOR = 2.40[95% CI = 1.34 to 4.31]) and non-Juul pod (2.64[95% CI = 1.41 to 4.92]) (vs. pen) were associated with past-30-day vaping, and twice as many vaping days (adjusted rate ratios [ARRs] range: 1.96-2.12; ps <. 05). First flavor of mint/menthol (vs. other; AOR: 1.95[95% CI = 1.003 to 3.79) and first device mod, box, non-Juul pod, and other (AORs range: 2.36-4.01; ps <. 05) were associated with nicotine dependence. First device Juul, mod, box, and non-Juul pod were also associated with more dependence symptoms (ARRs range:1.38-1.59; ps <. 05). Conclusions: Exposure to mint/menthol and certain devices (mod, box, Juul, and non-Juul pods) at first e-cigarette use may be associated with more frequent e-cigarette use and nicotine dependence symptoms in young adulthood. Mint/menthol and certain devices warrant consideration in regulation of e-cigarettes based on product characteristics. Implications: Characteristics (flavor and device type) of first e-cigarette product used were associated with higher usage and more dependence. Pending replication with prospective designs, the findings suggest certain flavors (mint/menthol) and devices (pods, mods) merit consideration in regulation because of their possible link with continued use and dependence among young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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