Pod-Based E-Cigarette Use among US College-Aged Adults: A Survey on the Perception of Health Effects, Sociodemographic Correlates, and Interplay with other Tobacco Products

Journal: Tobacco Induced Diseases, 2023, doi: 10.18332/tid/159177

Authors: Olufunmilayo H. Obisesan, S. M. Iftekhar Uddin, Ellen Boakye, Albert D. Osei, Mohammadhassan Mirbolouk, Olusola A. Orimoloye, Omar Dzaye, … Michael J. Blaha


Introduction: E-cigarette use among youth and young adults remains of public health concern. Pod-based e-cigarettes, including JUUL, significantly changed the e-cigarette landscape in the US. Using an online survey, we explored the socio-behavioral correlates, predisposing factors, and addictive behaviors, among young adult pod-mod users within a University in Maryland, USA.

Methods: In total, 112 eligible college students aged 18-24 years, recruited from a University in Maryland, who reported using pod-mods were included in this study. Participants were categorized into current/non-current users based on past-30-day use. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze participants’ responses.

Results: The mean age of the survey participants was 20.5 ± 1.2 years, 56.3% were female, 48.2% White, and 40.2% reported past-30-day (current) use of pod-mods. The mean age of first experimentation with pod-mods was 17.8 ± 1.4 years, while the mean age of regular use was 18.5 ± 1.4 years, with the majority (67.9%) citing social influence as the reason for initiation. Of the current users, 62.2% owned their own devices, and 82.2% predominantly used JUUL and menthol flavor (37.8%). A significant proportion of current users (73.3%) reported buying pods in person, 45.5% of whom were aged <21 years. Among all participants, 67% had had a past serious quit attempt. Among them, 89.3% neither used nicotine replacement therapy nor prescription medications. Finally, current use (adjusted odds ratio, AOR=4.52; 95% CI: 1.76-11.64), JUUL use (AOR=2.56; 95% CI: 1.08-6.03), and menthol flavor (AOR=6.52; 95% CI: 1.38-30.89) were associated with reduced nicotine autonomy, a measure of addiction.

Conclusions: Our findings provide specific data to inform the development of public health interventions targeted at college youth, including the need for more robust cessation support for pod-mod users.

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Mechanisms of Injury in Adolescent Trauma Patients with a Positive Marijuana Screen

Journal: The American Surgeon, 2023, doi: 10.1177/00031348231157807

Authors: Negaar Aryan, Areg Grigorian, Kazuhide Matsushima, Morgan Schellenberg, Jeffry Nahmias, Brent Emigh & Kenji Inaba


Background: Marijuana use among adolescents may have increased after its legalization in the United States. An association between violence and marijuana use in adults has been demonstrated in previous reports. We hypothesized that adolescent trauma patients presenting with a positive marijuana screen (pMS) are more likely to have been injured by gunfire or knives and will have more severe injuries overall, compared to patients with a negative marijuana screen (nMS).

Methods: The 2017 Trauma Quality Improvement Program database was queried for adolescent (13-17 years old) pMS patients and compared to adolescents who tested negative for all substance/alcohol. Patients with positive polysubstance/alcohol were excluded.

Results: From 8257 adolescent trauma patients, 2060 (24.9%) had a pMS with a higher rate of males in the pMS group (76.3% vs 64.3%, P < .001). The pMS group presented more frequently after gun (20.3% vs 7.9%, P < .001) or knife trauma (5.7% vs 3.0%, P < .001) and less frequently after falls (8.9% vs 15.6%, P < .001) and bicycle collisions (3.3% vs 4.8%, P = .002). The rate of serious thoracic injury (AIS ≥3) was higher for pMS patients (16.7% vs 12.0%, P < .001), and more pMS patients required emergent operation (14.9% vs 10.6%, P < .001).

Discussion: In our adolescent patient population, one quarter tested positive for marijuana. These patients are more likely to be injured by guns and/or knives suffering serious injuries, and often require immediate operative intervention. A marijuana cessation program for adolescents can help improve outcomes in this high-risk patient group.

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How Do Contextual Factors Influence Naloxone Distribution from Syringe Service Programs in the USA: A Cross-Sectional Study

Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12954-023-00755-4

Authors: Barrot H. Lambdin, Lynn Wenger, Ricky Bluthenthal, Tyler S. Bartholomew, Hansel E. Tookes, Paul LaKosky, Savannah O’Neill & Alex H. Kral


Background: Naloxone is a medication that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. Syringe service programs (SSPs) are community-based prevention programs that provide a range of evidence-based interventions in the USA, including naloxone distribution. Attributes of SSPs make them ideal settings for naloxone distribution-they have staff and delivery models that are designed to reach people who use drugs where they are. We assessed which outer and inner setting factors of SSPs were associated with naloxone distribution in the USA.

Methods: We surveyed SSPs in the USA known to the North American Syringe Exchange Network in 2019. Using the exploration, preparation, implementation and maintenance framework, we assessed inner and outer contextual factors associated with naloxone distribution among SSPs (n = 263 or 77% of SSPs). We utilized negative binomial regression to assess which factors were associated with the number of naloxone doses distributed and people receiving naloxone.

Results: SSPs reported distributing 710,232 naloxone doses to 230,506 people in the prior year. Regarding outer setting, SSPs located in areas with high levels of community support had a higher level of naloxone distribution (aIRR = 3.07; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.09-4.51; p < 0.001) and 110% (p = 0.022) higher rate of people receiving naloxone (aIRR = 2.10; 95% CI 1.46-3.02; p < 0.001) in the past 12 months. The legal status of SSPs and the level of need was not significantly associated with naloxone distribution. Regarding inner setting, SSPs with proactive refill systems (aIRR = 2.08; 95% CI 1.27-3.41; p = 0.004), greater number of distribution days (aIRR = 1.09 per day; 95% CI 1.06-1.11; p < 0.001) and older programs (aIRR = 1.06 per year; 95% CI 1.02-1.11; p = 0.004) were associated with higher levels of naloxone distribution. Also, SSPs with proactive refill systems (aIRR = 2.23; 95% CI 1.38-3.58; p = 0.001); greater number of distribution days (aIRR = 1.04; 95% CI 1.02-1.07; p < 0.001) and older programs (aIRR = 1.11; 95% CI 1.05-1.17; p < 0.001) were associated with a higher number of people receiving naloxone.

Conclusion: We identified outer and inner setting factors of SSPs that were associated with greater naloxone distribution. It is critical to ensure SSPs are adequately resourced to build community support for services and develop service delivery models that maximize naloxone distribution to address the nation’s opioid overdose crisis.

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Problematic Social Media Use and Alcohol Expectancies in Early Adolescents

Journal: BMC Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-15298-3

Authors: Jason M. Nagata, Natalia Smith, Gabriel Zamora, Omar M. Sajjad, Kyle T. Ganson, Alexander Testa & Dylan B. Jackson


Background: Alcohol expectancies are beliefs regarding positive (e.g., tension reduction) or negative (e.g., loss of motor coordination) effects of alcohol. Based on Social Learning Theory, social media can influence alcohol expectancies in adolescents. In particular, problematic social media use – which can reflect elements of addiction, including mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse – could be linked to alcohol expectancies. We aimed to determine the associations between problematic social media use and alcohol expectancies in a national (U.S.) cohort of 10-14-year-old early adolescents.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (N = 9,008) at the Year 2 assessment (2018-2020). Unadjusted and adjusted linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between problematic social media use and alcohol expectancies (positive and negative), adjusting for race/ethnicity, sex, household income, parent education, sexual orientation, parental marital status, and study site. Furthermore, we computed marginal predicted probabilities to aid in interpreting findings.

Results: The sample was 48.7% female and racially and ethnically diverse (43.0% non-White), with a mean age of 12.02 ± 0.66 years old. In models adjusted for confounders including both time spent on social media and problematic social media use, time spent on social media was not associated with positive or negative alcohol expectancies, but higher problematic social media use score was associated with higher positive (B = 0.045, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.020-0.069) and negative (B = 0.072, 95% CI 0.043-0.101) alcohol expectancies scores.

Conclusion: Problematic social media use was associated with both positive and negative alcohol expectancies in a demographically diverse national sample of early adolescents in the U.S. Given the small effect sizes of the current study, future studies should further examine these relationships prospectively, as well as the mechanisms linking problematic social media use to alcohol expectancies and alcohol consumption. Because alcohol expectancies are modifiable and linked with alcohol initiation, they could be a target for future prevention efforts.

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Adaptation of the Tele-Harm Reduction Intervention to Promote Initiation and Retention in Buprenorphine Treatment among People Who Inject Drugs: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Journal: Annals of Medicine, 2023, doi: 10.1080/07853890.2023.2182908

Authors: Edward Suarez, Tyler S. Bartholomew, Marina Plesons, Katrina Ciraldo, Lily Ostrer, David P. Serota, Teresa A. Chueng, … Hansel E. Tookes


Background: At the start of the pandemic, relaxation of buprenorphine prescribing regulations created an opportunity to create new models of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) delivery and care. To expand and improve access to MOUD, we adapted and implemented the Tele-Harm Reduction (THR) intervention; a multicomponent, telehealth-based and peer-driven intervention to promote HIV viral suppression among people who inject drugs (PWID) accessing a syringe services program (SSP). This study examined buprenorphine initiation and retention among PWID with opioid use disorder who received the adapted THR intervention at the IDEA Miami SSP.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of participants who received the THR intervention for MOUD was performed to examine the impact of telehealth on buprenorphine retention. Our primary outcome was three-month retention, defined as three consecutive months of buprenorphine dispensed from the pharmacy.

Results: A total of 109 participants received the adapted THR intervention. Three-month retention rate on buprenorphine was 58.7%. Seeing a provider via telehealth at baseline or any follow up visit (aOR = 7.53, 95% CI: [2.36, 23.98]) and participants who had received an escalating dose of buprenorphine after baseline visit (aOR = 8.09, 95% CI: [1.83, 35.87]) had a higher adjusted odds of retention at three months. Participants who self-reported or tested positive for a stimulant (methamphetamine, amphetamine, or cocaine) at baseline had a lower adjusted odds of retention on buprenorphine at three months (aOR = 0.29, 95% CI: [0.09, 0.93]).

Conclusions: Harm reduction settings can adapt dynamically to the needs of PWID in provision of critical lifesaving buprenorphine in a truly destigmatising approach. Our pilot suggests that an SSP may be an acceptable and feasible venue for delivery of THR to increase uptake of buprenorphine by PWID and promote retention in care.

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