Research News Roundup: September 9, 2021

    Protective Factors against Vaping and other Tobacco Use

    Journal: Pediatrics, 2021, doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-048066

    Authors: Nicholas Szoko, Maya I. Ragavan, Susheel K. Khetarpal, Kar-Hai Chu & Alison J. Culyba

    Background and Objectives: Vaping has gained popularity among adolescents despite negative health consequences. Few studies have focused on factors that may protect against vaping. We sought to determine if future orientation, parental monitoring, school connectedness, and social support are associated with decreased risk of vaping and other forms of tobacco use.

    Methods: Data were obtained via anonymous school-based health behavior surveys among ninth- through 12th-graders in Pittsburgh, PA (n = 2487). Protective factors were assessed through validated Likert scale instruments. The primary outcome was recent (past 30-day) vaping. Additional outcomes included other forms of tobacco use and intention to quit tobacco products. Poisson regression models examined associations between protective factors and vaping and tobacco use outcomes.

    Results: Mean age was 15.7 years, 1446 (58.1%) respondents were female, and 671 youth (27.0%) reported recent vaping. Positive future orientation and high parental monitoring were associated with significantly lower prevalence of recent vaping (adjusted prevalence ratio: 0.84 [95% confidence interval: 0.73–0.97] and adjusted prevalence ratio: 0.73 [95% confidence interval: 0.62–0.85], respectively). There were no significant relationships between social support or school connectedness and vaping. All 4 protective factors were inversely associated with other forms of tobacco use. No factors were significantly associated with intent to quit tobacco products.

    Conclusions: Findings reveal significant inverse associations between future orientation, parental monitoring, and vaping but no relationship between protective factors and intent to quit tobacco products. Developing interventions to foster protective factors in youth and their parental supports may inform primary prevention efforts to reduce vaping and other tobacco use.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Ingenuity and Resiliency of Syringe Service Programs on the Front Lines of the Opioid Overdose and COVID-19 Crises

    Journal: Translational Research, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2021.03.011

    Authors: Lynn D. Wenger, Alex H. Kral, Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Terry Morris, Lee Ongais & Barrot H. Lambdin

    As COVID-19 accelerated throughout 2020, syringe service programs (SSPs) faced challenges necessitating programmatic adaptations to prevent overdose deaths while simultaneously keeping workers and participants safe from COVID-19. We used qualitative methods to gain an understanding of the social context within which SSPs are operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted 36 in-depth interviews with program representatives from 18 programs and used the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment (EPIS) implementation framework to guide data analysis. We focused on 3 of the 4 EPIS constructs: Outer context, inner context, and innovation factors. Our data indicate that responding to the pandemic led to innovations in service delivery such as secondary and mail-based distribution, adoption of telemedicine for enrolling participants in medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and use of virtual training platforms for overdose prevention. We found high levels of staff and volunteer commitment, which was a cornerstone to the success of these innovations. We observed that many SSPs were short-staffed because of their commitment to safety, and some lost current funding as well as opportunities for future funding. Despite minimal staffing and diminished funding, SSPs innovated at an accelerated pace. To ensure the sustainability of these new approaches, a supportive external context (federal, state, and local policies and funding) is needed to support the development of SSPs’ inner contexts (organizational characteristics, characteristics of individuals) and sustainment of the innovations achieved regarding delivery of naloxone and MOUD.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Perceived Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cannabis-using Emerging Adults

    Journal: Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2021, doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibab025

    Authors: Erin E Bonar, Lyndsay Chapman, Jenna McAfee, Jason E Goldstick, José A Bauermeister, Patrick M Carter, Sean D Young & Maureen A Walton

    Cannabis-using youth are a large epidemiologic subgroup whose age and smoking-related risks underscore the importance of examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in this population. Within a clinical trial (n = 36 received an intervention prior to data collection reported herein), we surveyed cannabis-using emerging adults (ages 18–25) about perceived COVID-19 impacts. Participants (n = 141) reporting weekly cannabis use (M = 18.6 use days in the past 30) were enrolled and completed online surveys as part of either their baseline or 3 month assessment. COVID-19-related measures included symptoms, substance use, mood, etc. Participants were 57% female (mean age = 21, standard deviation = 2.2), with 21% Hispanic/Latinx, 70% White, 20% Black/African American, and 10% of other races. Most participants (86%) reported quarantine/self-isolation (M = 59 days). Several had COVID-19 symptoms (16%), but none reported testing COVID-19 positive. Many respondents felt their cannabis use (35%–50%, across consumption methods) and negative emotions (e.g., loneliness, stress, and depression; 69.5%, 69.5%, and 61.8%, respectively) increased. They reported decreased in-person socialization (90.8%) and job losses (23.4%). Reports of increased cannabis smoking were associated with increased negative emotions. On an open-response item, employment/finances and social isolation were frequently named negative impacts (33.3% and 29.4%, respectively). Although cannabis-using emerging adults’ reports of increases in cannabis use, coupled with mental health symptoms and social isolation, are concerning, the full impact of the pandemic on their health and well-being remains unknown. Future studies examining the relationship between social isolation, mental health, and cannabis use among young people are needed.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2021, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.18788

    Authors: Ruoyan Sun, David Mendez & Kenneth E. Warner

    Importance: With increasing e-cigarette use among US adolescents and decreasing use of other tobacco products, it is unclear how total use of nicotine products, and its long-term health risks, have changed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s standard measure—any tobacco product use in the past 30 days—considers neither frequency of use nor product risk implications.

    Objective: To investigate how nicotine product use, including frequency of use, and its associated risks have changed among middle school and high school students since 1999.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data from the 1999-2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, an in-school survey of a nationally representative sample of students in grades 6 through 12; each survey recruited between 15 000 and 36 000 participants.

    Exposures: Nicotine product use in the past 30 days.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Use of nicotine products assessed by nicotine product days (NPDs), the number of days that the average student consumed these products in the past 30 days. Risk-adjusted NPDs account for differential long-term health risks of various products.

    Results: This study included 16 years of cross-sectional survey data. Each survey recruited between 15 000 and 36 000 participants in grades 6 through 12 (male students: mean, 50.4% [minimum, 48.5%; maximum, 58.4%]; mean age, 14.5 years [minimum, 14.0 years; maximum, 14.7 years]). Nationally representative cross-sectional data for high school students showed that NPDs decreased steadily from 5.6 days per month in 1999 (95% CI, 5.0-6.2 days per month) to 2.2 days per month in 2017 (95% CI, 1.9-2.6 days per month), increased to 4.6 days per month in 2019 (95% CI, 4.1-5.1 days per month), and then decreased to 3.6 days per month in 2020 (95% CI, 3.0-4.1 days per month). For a risk weight of 0.1 for e-cigarettes, compared with combustible products, risk-adjusted NPDs decreased from 2.5 days per month in 2013 (95% CI, 2.2-2.9 days per month) (prior to the popularity of e-cigarettes) to 2.0 days per month in 2019 (95% CI, 1.6-2.5 days per month) and 1.4 days per month in 2020 (95% CI, 1.0-1.8 days per month). However, with a risk weight of 1.0 for e-cigarettes (identical to that of combustible products), risk-adjusted NPDs increased to 5.3 days per month in 2019 (95% CI, 4.4-6.2 days per month) and 3.9 days per month in 2020 (95% CI, 3.1-4.7 days per month). Similar trends were found for middle school students.

    Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that NPDs represent an improvement, albeit an imperfect one, compared with any 30-day tobacco product use by incorporating the frequency of use of various products. By distinguishing products, NPDs permit consideration of the health consequences associated with different mixes of products over time. Health risks of adolescent nicotine product use could have decreased during vaping’s popularity if assessment of the long-term risks associated with vaping compared with those of smoking is low. There is a need to closely monitor youth nicotine and tobacco product use patterns.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Review: Prevalence of Addictions among Transgender and Gender Diverse Subgroups

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.3390/ijerph18168843

    Authors: Ryan Ruppert, Shanna K. Kattari & Steve Sussman

    We conducted an analysis of the prevalence of substance and behavioral addictions across different transgender and gender diverse (TGD) subgroups. We performed a scoping review using MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases and examined 12 addictions, including alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, illicit drugs, gambling, eating/food, internet, sex, love, exercise, work, and shopping. We presented prevalence rates for each addiction as a function of an individual’s gender identity (stratified into transgender females, transgender males, and gender nonconforming), and used cisgender women and men as reference groups. We included 55 studies in our final analysis, the majority of which investigated substance use disorders among TGD subgroups. Overall findings indicated that substantial differences in substance use exist among US TGD subgroups. There were far fewer publications that examined the prevalence of behavioral addictions across TGD subgroups. However, despite limited research in this area, findings still suggest that notable differences in behavioral addictions may exist between individual TGD subgroups. The conclusions of our review may provide clinicians with a better ability to screen for and treat at-risk individuals within the TGD community.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    By Partnership Staff
    September 2021


    September 2021