Pharmacists Address Their Role in Adolescent Vaping Education


According to posters presented at the 2024 American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, pharmacists wish to play a bigger role in educating young people about the risks of vaping.

From online educational materials to open dialogue with patients about youth e-cigarette use, pharmacists are working hard to educate both themselves and their patients about the growing risks of adolescent vaping.

“E-cigarettes are the most common tobacco product used by adolescents and negatively impacts lung function, stunts brain development, increases risk for nicotine addiction, and may lead to cigarette smoking initiation,” wrote Li et al.1

In 2 posters presented at the 2024 American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting, researchers aimed to address the efficacy of vaping education infographics as well as pharmacists’ general perspective on the issue of adolescent vaping.

Key Takeaways

  • In posters presented at the 2024 American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, researchers detailed how pharmacists are addressing adolescent use of e-cigarettes.
  • While education on the long-term effects of vaping is lacking, pharmacists agreed on the proactive approach of educating the youth and their parents about the topic.

Pharmacists are considered trusted medical professionals within the community, according to participants in Matulle et al’s study on the Teen E-cigarette and Vaping Educational Resource (T-EVER)—a pharmacy-provided infographic on vaping with additional resources for adolescents.2

With a wide scope on pharmacists to address the issue, the studies’ surveys assessed adolescents’ response to educational vaping resources, pharmacists’ role in vaping education, and pharmacists’ perspective on youth vaping and communication.1-2

Young person vaping | image credit: Alena -

Young person vaping | image credit: Alena -

Adolescent Perspective on Youth Vaping Resources

With a mean age of 14.4 years old, 35 adolescents were interviewed about the T-EVER infographic and its additional resources.

“Participants perceived the T-EVER to be well-designed with valuable and understandable information on e-cigarettes that would be beneficial to adolescents,” wrote the authors.2

The participants also agreed on the dangerous effects of youth vaping, including its highly addictive nature and long-lasting health effects.

Researchers assessed the potential barriers that could minimize the benefits of displaying or communicating vaping resources in a pharmacy or online setting. Those barriers included rarity of adolescent pharmacy visits and adolescent inability to admit to e-cigarette use, among others.2

READ MORE: Exploring Electronic Cigarettes’ Success Among Other Tobacco Cessation Methods

“Using the T-EVER as an educational tool in a pharmacy-based intervention can serve as a preventable measure for adolescents by providing access to evidence of vaping consequences and cessation resources. Findings from the qualitative study on adolescent perspectives on the T-EVER can provide the foundation for future pharmacist-led adolescent e-cigarette educational initiatives and interventions,” concluded the authors.2

Pharmacist Perspective on E-Cigarette Use Among Adolescents

Pharmacists across Wisconsin were given a survey to record their general thoughts on vaping knowledge, education, experience with tobacco/vaping counseling, engagement with adolescents and their parents, pharmacists’ own role in vaping education, and other perspectives.1

Of 111 respondents (65% women; 80% white; mean age of 38.2), just 35% of pharmacists knew about the dangers of vaping and only 5% were aware of vaping policies and regulations.Furthermore, more than 85% of respondents had no prior education on vaping or its dangers to adolescent development.1

Despite pharmacists’ lack of knowledge on youth vaping and education, a high percentage expressed the need for pharmacists to take a more active role in disseminating vaping education.

While over 80% of respondents claimed there was a lack of training, resources, and time to educate their patients on vaping, a large majority agreed on vaping risks and their desire to educate.

“Most participants considered adolescent vaping to be an important problem in their communities (72%). Over 90% of participants agreed that pharmacists should educate adolescents and parents on vaping and support vaping cessation through referral to external resources like quit lines or providers. Around half of participants were interested in playing a role for prevention and reduction of adolescent vaping (44%) and willing to engage in this role (55%),” wrote the authors.1

Despite the apparent lack of education on vaping and youth e-cigarette use, researchers and pharmacists agreed on the increasing need for better and more streamlined education about the dangers and health risks of vaping.

“Pharmacists are undereducated and underutilized in addressing adolescent vaping, despite being uniquely positioned as substance and drug experts with immense potential for this role. Future studies should examine best practices for training pharmacists in youth vaping prevention and cessation,” concluded Li et al.1

Read more of our coverage from the 2024 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition.

1. Li J, Abraham O. Wisconsin pharmacists' perspectives on their role in addressing the adolescent vaping epidemic: an exploratory statewide survey. Presented at:American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition; March 22-25; Orlando, FL. Poster 1330.
2. Matulle M, Li J. Adolescent perspectives on the pharmacist-led teen e-cigarette and vaping educational resource (t-ever) and its potential impact on youth vaping. Presented at: American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition; March 22-25; Orlando, FL. Poster 1092.
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