Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Public Policy Leadership

First Advisor

Joseph H. Holland

Second Advisor

Melissa L. Bass

Third Advisor

John W. Winkle, III

Relational Format



In recent years, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of adolescents that regularly use nicotine electronic cigarettes. As recently as 2019, a large outbreak of e- cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injuries was observed in adolescents, leading many to question the safety of these devices, particularly when use by adolescents. By way of a literature review, this thesis will examine the history of nicotine and electronic cigarettes in the United States, as well as existing data on the nature of nicotine electronic cigarettes and the ways in which they are marketed.

From these findings, it is clear that adolescents are particularly susceptible to beginning nicotine use, due to the questionable marketing practices of nicotine electronic cigarette firms, as well as social and peer influences to try nicotine electronic cigarettes. It is clear that while nicotine electronic cigarettes have not proven to be uniquely harmful to a user, some of the chemical components used to produce vapour in these devices can be harmful and carcinogenic. Nevertheless, it was found that the recent outbreak of e- cigarette related lung injury cases was not directly associated with nicotine electronic cigarettes that are presently available on the market; rather, these injuries were a result of bootlegged vaping products.

In order to analyse the findings of this thesis, an evaluative policy framework was used so as to create a policy solution that deters adolescent use of nicotine electronic cigarettes. This thesis proposes the use of regulation, education, and repeal of certain legislative actions in order to address this public issue.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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