Negative health symptoms reported by youth e-cigarette users: Results from a national survey of US youth.
Abstract Background E-cigarettes are the most prevalent tobacco product among US youth, but little is known about the health symptoms users experience. Methods Between August 2016 and May 2017, we conducted a nationally representative cross-sectional telephone survey of 975 US youth ages 13-17. Respondents who reported ever trying e-cigarettes were asked whether they ever experienced six physical health symptoms they thought were caused by e-cigarette use. We examined whether symptoms varied by demographics and tobacco use. Results Approximately 12.4% of respondents (n=141) reported ever trying e-cigarettes. Of lifetime e-cigarette users, 37.0% reported past 30-day e-cigarette use, 17.2% reported past 30-day cigarette use, and 23.7% reported past 30-day use of another tobacco product. Most (63.3%) reported a symptom, most often cough (42.3%), followed by dizziness or lightheadedness (31.5%), headache or migraine (25.4%), dry or irritated mouth or throat (14.9%), shortness of breath (13.7%), change in or loss of taste (3.5%), and other (5.7%; nausea, dry eyes, earache, and tight chest). Headaches were more common among past 30-day e-cigarette users than non-users (43.8% vs. 14.6%). Shortness of breath was more common among past 30-day cigarette (33.8% vs. 9.5%) and other tobacco users (31.6% vs. 8.2%). Past 30-day cigarette users were also more likely to report any symptom (86.0% vs. 58.6%). Conclusions Most youth e-cigarette users attribute health symptoms to their e-cigarette use. Past 30-day users were more likely to report certain symptoms than non-users. Findings can educate health practitioners and school nurses about common symptoms youth may experience and inform prevention messages.