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Tob Control. 2019 Jan;28(1):20-26. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054156. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Vape Factor Fast Find-Adult (VF3-A): a prototype survey method for recording brand-specific vaping factors in adult populations.

Author information

Epidemiology Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



In population studies, vaping is often treated as a dichotomous exposure (present/absent) without consideration of specific vaping devices and materials being used. A survey instrument is needed to record specific vaping devices and materials.


We developed a database of 613 vaping device models and 3196 vaping liquid products, indexed by device brand, device type, liquid brand, liquid name and liquid flavour type. We developed a survey instrument to allow participants to report their vaping device and liquid from the indexed lists. The survey was pilot tested with a convenience sample of 208 adults (≥age 21). We validated the vaping device and liquid responses with a recontact survey. We report the proportion of respondents finding their products, characteristics of people finding their products and survey response times.


Devices used most frequently in the past 30 days were electronic cigarettes (33% of respondents), vaping pens (28%) and vaping mods (16%). Fifty-seven per cent used liquids containing nicotine most frequently in the past 30 days, followed by liquids without nicotine (20%) and marijuana or hashish (10%). Most (85%) participants found their vaping device successfully (median 19.7 s) and 74% found their vaping liquid (median 19.8 s). Females and older adults were less likely to find their devices and liquids. Responses were validated for 91% and 76% of devices and e-liquids, respectively.


This study demonstrated the feasibility of an internet-based survey instrument to record specific vaping factors for use in studies of vaping and health.


electronic nicotine delivery devices; non-cigarette tobacco products; surveillance and monitoring

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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