Header vapegedrag onder jongeren
Header vapegedrag onder jongeren

Vaping behavior among teens

Project leader
Bianca Harms
September 2022 - March 2023
Communication, Media, Design

There has been a significant rise in the usage of e-cigarettes, commonly referred to as "vaping," among young individuals in recent years. This trend has raised alarm among parents, policymakers, and the healthcare industry. This research project was conducted to better understand the motivations behind young people's use of e-cigarettes and to aid in the development of an effective media campaign to discourage this unhealthy behavior.


The tobacco industry initially marketed e-cigarettes as a healthier smoking alternative to help quit smoking, but this claim is unfounded. While e-cigarettes lack many of the toxic combustion products of tobacco, they release harmful substances, such as nicotine and propylene glycol, and (traces of) toxic and carcinogenic substances. Despite this, e-cigarettes have become a increasingly popular stimulant among young people. #artsenslaanalarm, a group of medical specialists, approached creative agency WeFilm to develop a media campaign to discourage young people from vaping.

While media interventions can be influential in promoting healthy habits or discouraging unhealthy ones, they may not always be effective in motivating adolescents to adopt healthier behaviors. To increase the effects of a campaign, applied target group research was an essential element in the campaign development process. To gather meaningful insights for the development of the media campaign, the professorship Transformational Media collaborated with students from the Master’s degree Content & Media Strategy. In addition, students were also contributed to the development of the campaign message.

The resulting national anti-vaping campaign was launched on March 21, 2023 on Tik-Tok.


With the support of the professorship, students investigated the motivations for and attitudes toward vaping of young people. Seventy-seven interviews were conducted among 16-19-year-olds. Participants were questioned about their perceptions of vaping, reasons for vaping, knowledge of harmful vape ingredients, product availability, and media content relating to vaping that they came across. NVIVO coding software was utilized to assign data reduction codes to the interview transcripts and examine word frequencies, enabling a methodical comparison of the findings and data interpretations.

Main Findings

The project's findings suggest that vaping is widely accessible and prevalent among young people, with easy access to vaping supplies, even for those under 18. The main motivations for young people to vape are the availability of tasty flavors, socializing with vaping friends, perceiving vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking, and using it to satisfy nicotine cravings easily. Although the majority of participants are aware of the harmful effects of vaping, their knowledge of vape pen substances is limited. Additionally, young people are generally uninterested in learning more about this subject, and possessing this knowledge would not deter them from vaping. Finally, the study reveals that young people struggle to distinguish sponsored vaping content on social media as advertising, with Instagram and TikTok being the most common platforms where vaping content is encountered.

Sustainable Development Goals

This project contributes to...