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Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality in Adolescents Using e-Cigarettes and Marijuana: A Secondary Data Analysis From the Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Objectives:

E-cigarette use has increased dramatically among adolescents in the past 5 years alongside a steady increase in daily use of marijuana. This period coincides with a historic rise in depression and suicidal ideation among adolescents. In this study, we describe the associations between e-cigarette and marijuana use and depressive symptoms and suicidality in a large nationally representative sample of high school students.

Methods:

We used data from the 2 most recent waves (2015 and 2017) of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Our sample (n = 26,821) included only participants with complete information for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and exposure to e-cigarettes and marijuana (89.5% of survey respondents). We performed multivariate logistic regressions to explore the associations between single or dual use of e-cigarette and marijuana and depressive and suicidal symptoms in the past year adjusting for relevant confounders.

Results:

E-cigarette-only use was reported in 9.1% of participants, marijuana-only use in 9.7%, and dual e-cigarette/marijuana use in 10.2%. E-cigarette-only use (vs no use) was associated with increased odds of reporting suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]:1.23, 95% CI 1.03–1.47) and depressive symptoms (AOR: 1.37, 95% CI 1.19–1.57), which was also observed with marijuana-only use (AOR: 1.25, 95% CI 1.04–1.50 and AOR: 1.49, 95% CI 1.27–1.75) and dual use (AOR: 1.28, 95% CI 1.06–1.54 and AOR: 1.62, 95% CI 1.39–1.88).

Conclusions:

Youth with single and dual e-cigarette and marijuana use had increased odds of reporting depressive symptoms and suicidality compared to youth who denied use. There is a need for effective prevention and intervention strategies to help mitigate adverse mental health outcomes in this population.