MARVEL: A Multidisciplinary Assessment of Risks from Vaping during Early Life
ABSTRACT – OVERALL The proposed program project, A Multidisciplinary Assessment of Risks of Vaping in Early Life (Project MARVEL), takes an integrated approach to assessing vaping behavior and the emergence of dependence; elucidating the impact of vaping on adolescent health; and generating empirically-tested messages to reduce adolescent vaping. In 2020, 19.6% of high school students, representing over 3 million adolescents, reported past month vaping. Moreover, the proportion of high school students who report frequent vaping has increased substantially. Significant gaps exist in understanding current patterns of youth vaping, the relationship between vaping and dependence, the impact of vaping on health, and how best to stem the surge in adolescent vaping. The overarching aims of this program project are to: (1) Assess the use of nicotine-containing vaping products and the relationship between vaping and the emergence of symptoms of dependence, including individual, interpersonal, and environmental factors that may moderate the impact of vaping; (2) Determine how vaping disrupts health and well-being through its impact on key physiological and psychological systems that are still developing during adolescence; and (3) Evaluate the potential impact of vaping prevention messages, developed based on emerging evidence of health harms from Project MARVEL and focused on the ways in which vaping affects adolescents’ bodies and lives. Four projects are proposed, supported by four cores. Project 1 will assess the relationship between vaping and the emergence of dependence, describe how vaping impacts the development of adolescent well-being, and determine how adolescents perceive the impact of vaping on their daily lives. Project 2 will examine the association between vaping, neurodevelopment, autonomic regulation, and cognitive/psychological skills. Project 3 will determine how vaping impacts respiratory health by examining symptoms, function, and early molecular alterations in airways. Project 4 will develop, optimize, and evaluate messages about novel health harms of vaping, identified in Projects 1-3 and the extant literature, that resonate with high school students. The Administrative Core will manage operations for Project MARVEL, facilitate interactions between projects, and coordinate study participation. The Biostatistics Core will ensure our designs and analyses maximize validity, generalizability, and efficiency. The Adolescent Research Support Core will address the unique challenges of conducting research with a large number of adolescents from multiple schools, facilitate recruitment and retention, ensure protection of human subjects, and maintain and leverage community partnerships. Finally, the Biomarker and Product Evaluation Core will characterize the most commonly used products and provide objective markers of exposure and biological effect. Project MARVEL has the potential to greatly improve our understanding of how vaping impacts adolescent health and how best to intervene to reduce vaping during this critical developmental period.