Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Laura Holt


The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) is one of the most common substance use behaviors among emerging adults. With 68 confirmed vaping-related deaths as of February 2018 and countless other cases of vaping-related lung disease and dysfunction, there is an urgent need to better understand emerging adults’ perceptions of ENDS products, and which emerging adults are more/less likely to perceive ENDS products as harmful. In the present study, I examined data from an online survey of seven colleges and universities across the US and from five focus groups conducted with college students. Specifically, I explored the perceived risks and benefits of vaping, including the effects of media coverage on students’ behavior, and whether ADHD symptoms and impulsivity were associated with different perceptions of e-cigarette risks and benefits. As hypothesized, students reported that media reports have affected their behaviors and perceptions on vaping and e-cigarette use, although students expressed confusion about chemical makeup and long-term effects of e-cigarettes. Also as hypothesized, there was an indirect effect of impulsivity on frequency of ENDS use and dependence through perceived benefits. ADHD symptoms, however, did not predict using ENDS to concentrate as hypothesized. Implications on these reports for finding effective intervention strategies will be discussed.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.