SPUR 2021: Effects and behaviors of vaping in the United States


E-cigarettes are becoming very popular in this decade because they satisfy the psychopharmacologic desire of smoking with the smokeless delivery of nicotine. Even though e-cigarettes were introduced to the market with intentions of being an alternative to the conventional cigarette smoking, the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs is still significant enough to cause an addiction. Some former cigarette smokers who use e-cigarettes as an alternative quit smoking, continue using nicotine-containing e-fluids.

With the age of e-cigarette consumers lowering to adolescents, nicotine addiction has increased. E-cigarette’s tech-friendly device appearance is also appealing to the public that not only adults but approximately 4 million middle and high school students have embraced the vaping culture, demonstrating that this is becoming a growing concern for policy makers as e-cigarettes are becoming a gateway to cigarette smoking, especially amongst young adults.

This research will use publicly available data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study for examining patterns and usages of e-cigarettes, in addition to investigating the effects and behaviors of vaping in the population. PATH is a population-based registry that stores national and longitudinal tobacco and e-cigarette use data in the United States.

Student Role

Students will be involved in each phrase of the project from study design, literature review, data management and analysis, to drafting manuscripts and preparation for journal publication and conference presentation. As students develop research skill competency, greater autonomy will be given in completing research tasks. Students also have the opportunity to learn and participate in other ongoing research projects to broaden their knowledge and perspectives.

Student Learning Outcomes & Benefits

Students participated in this project will be actively learning the proper designs of scientific research. They will be trained in the ethical and practical aspects of human subject research and data management. They will learn how to conduct literature review, cite references, use statistical software to perform appropriate data analysis, write abstracts and manuscripts for publication and deliver professional presentations. They will have the opportunities to be co-authors on abstracts and manuscripts. These hands-on activities will increase students’ research skills and will be beneficial for students who seek further education in medical school or other graduate-level programs.

Remote Contingency Plan

This research study will be conducted using freely available, online public database. Utilizing de-identified, publicly available database to do research does not require IRB approval, and does not restrict investigators or students to work in any particular building, research lab or office space. Typically, the data processing and analysis can be done on a computer in anywhere in the world. All other parts of the research experience can be done via virtual meetings using platforms such Skype, Zoom, Webex, Teams, and others. That is, all research meetings, data analysis discussion, mentoring and writing papers can all be done online via virtual meetings. Since we do not need to collect data due to the fact that we are doing secondary data analysis, 100% of the mentoring and research activities for this proposal can be done on a desktop computer, or a laptop computer in any corner of the world that has reliable internet connection. Thus, there is no issue at all regarding the potential need for a fully remote SPUR experience.

Man Hung

School of Medicine`

An important goal for this program is to provide students with rich opportunity to participate in mentored research. To facilitate both the project and the mentoring aims, a regular meeting with mentored student will be held to provide direction, instructions and guidance regarding the research process, to provide training and to provide skill building opportunities. Such meetings will allow for frequent feedback regarding students’ work.

I maintain professional and personal relationships with many of my former undergraduate and graduate students and continue to provide letters of recommendation, mentoring and advice. Cultivating long-term relationships with students provides potential future collaborators as the students move through their academic training and on to graduate school and academic careers. My goal is to form long-term relationships with my students who will become my future colleagues and early stage mentoring is an excellent way to build these relationships.