Resource Digest: E – Cigarette Use and Mental Health Challenges Among Youth and Young Adults

In 2021, 13.4% of youth (ages 13-18) reported using commercial tobacco products including electronic nicotine delivery systems such as vapes, e-cigarettes, hookahs as well as traditional combustible cigarettes, oral nicotine pouches and cigars (CDC, 2021). Approximately, 81% of youth said that they started using tobacco products to cope with stress, anxiety and depression (Truth Initiative, 2021). However, many young people are unaware that e- cigarettes can exacerbate mental health challenges and engaging in tobacco cessation can improve mental wellbeing.

Youth mental health challenges are a significant predictor of negative life outcomes, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this. The 2021 Surgeon General’s Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health reported 25% of youth experience depressive symptoms and 20% experience anxiety symptoms. These mental health challenges increase the risk of youth turning to e-cigarettes in hopes of alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. While the overall trend of smoking is decreasing, the rapid rise of e-cigarettes among young people is alarming and can lead to higher rates of nicotine product use.

The following can enhance provider and stakeholder knowledge around e-cigarette use and provide useful resources to prevent negative health effects and promote youth cessation.


General Information

Research Articles and Reports


Fact Sheets and Infographics


Toolkits and Guides



CDC (2021). Youth and Tobacco Use. Youth and Tobacco Use | Smoking and Tobacco Use | CDC

Truth Initiative (2021). Many young people turn to nicotine to deal with stress, anxiety and depression, but don’t know it may be making them feel worse.

United States. Public Health Service. Office of the Surgeon General. (2021). Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of Surgeon General, 2021.

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