Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Dobbs, Page

Committee Member/Reader

Buttram, Mance


Examining Young Adult E-Cigarette Users by Device Type: A Latent Class Analysis

Purpose. This study examined which factors influence the type(s) of e-cigarette devices someone uses and if there are heterogeneous groups of young adult e-cigarette users.

Methods. This study first quantitatively explored if there are heterogeneous groups of e-cigarette users by utilizing data from an online cross-sectional survey. E-cigarette users (n = 595) were able to participate in the survey if they were 18-29 years of age, used an e-cigarette for 1-5 days in the past 30 days, own their own e-cigarette, and live in the United States. Participants were asked about their demographics and which e-cigarette devices they currently use. Types of devices included vape pens, mod and mech mods, box mods, JUUL, other non-JUUL pod based systems, Puff Bar, and non-Puff Bar disposable devices. A latent class analysis was used to group e-cigarette users into different classes based on the devices they have been using.

Following the survey, in-depth virtual interviews were conducted with a subset of the survey participants (n = 25). Interview questions facilitated discussion on why users preferred specific types of e-cigarette devices and if there were certain types of people (age, personalities, and demographics) who use certain types of e-cigarette devices. The interviews were coded using NVivo and later analyzed to identify the themes common among users who use the same type(s) of e-cigarette devices. Finally, a mixed methods analysis was performed to compare the qualitative and quantitative data.

Results. The latent class analysis revealed that there are five different classes or groups of e-cigarette users. These classes included JUUL and Puff Bar only users (31.2%), Box Mod only users (22.3%), non-JUUL pod-based system only users (21.6%), non-Puff Bar disposable only users (18.9%) and all users of all e-cigarette devices except box mods (6.1%). The qualitative data provided insight on why there were these distinct classes of e-cigarette users. Often users of the same class reported similar reasons for using specific type(s) of devices. The reasons and themes common within one class of e-cigarette users distinguished the users from the other classes.

Discussion. This research suggests that e-cigarette users should no longer be generalized, and significant differences exist between different classes of e-cigarette users. Methods to reduce e-cigarette use among nicotine-dependent young adults should be tailored and individualized for each class of e-cigarette users because different classes have different profiles, characteristics, and motivations for using e-cigarettes.


public health, e-cigarette, young adults, nicotine, vaping, young adults