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Vape Factor Fast Find-Adult (VF3-A): a prototype survey method for recording brand-specific vaping factors in adult populations
  1. Craig S Ross1,
  2. Tancy C Zhang1,
  3. William DeJong2,
  4. Michael Siegel2
  1. 1 Epidemiology Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Craig S Ross, Epidemiology Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA; csross17{at}


Background In population studies, vaping is often treated as a dichotomous exposure (present/absent) without consideration of specific vaping devices and materials being used. A survey instrument is needed to record specific vaping devices and materials.

Methods We developed a database of 613 vaping device models and 3196 vaping liquid products, indexed by device brand, device type, liquid brand, liquid name and liquid flavour type. We developed a survey instrument to allow participants to report their vaping device and liquid from the indexed lists. The survey was pilot tested with a convenience sample of 208 adults (≥age 21). We validated the vaping device and liquid responses with a recontact survey. We report the proportion of respondents finding their products, characteristics of people finding their products and survey response times.

Results Devices used most frequently in the past 30 days were electronic cigarettes (33% of respondents), vaping pens (28%) and vaping mods (16%). Fifty-seven per cent used liquids containing nicotine most frequently in the past 30 days, followed by liquids without nicotine (20%) and marijuana or hashish (10%). Most (85%) participants found their vaping device successfully (median 19.7 s) and 74% found their vaping liquid (median 19.8 s). Females and older adults were less likely to find their devices and liquids. Responses were validated for 91% and 76% of devices and e-liquids, respectively.

Conclusions This study demonstrated the feasibility of an internet-based survey instrument to record specific vaping factors for use in studies of vaping and health.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • non-cigarette tobacco products

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  • Contributors CSR conceived the study design and oversaw all aspects of the study including human subjects, sample selection, analysis, writing and editing the manuscript. TCZ performed study analysis and contributed to writing and editing the manuscript. MS and WDeJ contributed to the study design, writing and editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by a Boston University School of Public Health faculty development grant. The funders had no role in the design of the study, execution and analysis or the reporting of the results.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Boston University Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement For access additional data about vaping behaviours collected in this pilot study, contact CSR at