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Brandy Benson


There has been a shift toward e-cigarette use and away from tobacco smoking among American youth. Despite effects of ongoing public health campaigns that bring attention to the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine use generally, youths might not perceive e-cigarette use to be unhealthful in terms of psychological functioning. This study was an investigation of the impact of the method of tobacco use (cigarette or e-cigarette), past cessation attempts, cravings or needs to use tobacco, and serious cognitive difficulties, upon youths' intentions concerning future tobacco usage. The conceptual framework was based upon the self-medication hypothesis, biopsychosocial model, and social cognitive theory. The research questions focused on whether factors surrounding youth tobacco use would significantly predict the youths' intent. Data were drawn from 2015, 2016, and 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) responses. Cross-sectional data from 56,258 cases allowed for a total of 387 cases to be identified for inclusion in the analysis, based upon completeness of the data and inclusion criterion of a singular form of recent and regular tobacco use. Data were analyzed by using a chi-square test of independence and multinomial logistic regression. The research findings suggest that past cessation attempts and methods of tobacco use are variables that could significantly predict intent concerning future tobacco use; however, the findings did not suggest that craving or need for tobacco or serious cognitive difficulties significantly predicted these intentions. The study is replicable and amendable for purposes of more specific analyses. This research also contributes to the understanding of the e-cigarette epidemic, and the findings of the study can ultimately benefit young e-cigarette users who receive psychological treatment.