How young people in Aotearoa perceive vaping and the associated oral health risks.N Z Med J. 2023 Sep 15; 136(1582):28-42.NZ
The use of electronic cigarettes (EC) among young people has escalated in Aotearoa and in other jurisdictions where they are available commercially. The rise in vaping among young people for lifestyle reasons rather than for smoking cessation is of concern, given the growing evidence of the harmful effects of vaping. Specifically, there is little known about how young people in Aotearoa perceive the effect of vaping on their oral health. This study aims to explore how young people in Aotearoa perceive risks of vaping on oral health.
A cross-sectional online survey (n=237) was conducted to explore young people's (16-24 years) perceptions, current practices and attitudes regarding vaping and oral health.
Although most participants understood that vaping posed risks to their general health, they reported lower levels of perceived risk of vaping on oral health. Current vapers held significantly lower perceptions of both the addictiveness and harms associated with vaping. Participants reported that oral health professionals seldom asked them about their vaping status. Most participants were open to discussing with oral health professionals the effects of vaping on their oral health, suggesting that they would be less likely to vape if they knew it was bad for their oral health.
The findings indicate that there is a need for improved information for young people communicating the potential oral health risks of vaping and that oral health professionals are a way to disseminate this information.