Youth and Young Adult Vaping Cessation Research

Executive Summary

Prepared for Health Canada

Supplier name: Earnscliffe Strategy Group

Contract number: HT372-202821/001/CY

Contract value: $124,963.64 (including HST)

Award date: July 29, 2020

Delivery date: December 7, 2020

Registration number: POR 020-20

Health Canada Project Number: POR 20-07

For more information on this report, please contact Health Canada at:

Ce rapport est aussi disponible en français.

Youth and Young Adult Vaping Cessation Research

Executive Summary

Prepared for Health Canada

Supplier name: Earnscliffe Strategy Group

December 2020

This public opinion research report presents the results of focus groups conducted by Earnscliffe Strategy Group on behalf of the Department of Health Canada. The qualitative research was conducted in November of 2020.

Cette publication est aussi disponible en français sous le titre : Recherche sur l'abandon du vapotage chez les jeunes et les jeunes adultes.

This publication may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes only. Prior written permission must be obtained from the Department of Health Canada. For more information on this report, please contact Health Canada at:

Catalogue Number: H14-359/2021E-PDF

International Standard Book Number (ISBN): 978-0-660-38273-9

Related publications (registration number: POR 020-20)

H14-359/2021F-PDF (Final Report, French)


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2021

Executive summary

Earnscliffe Strategy Group (Earnscliffe) is pleased to present this report to Health Canada summarizing the results of the qualitative research into vaping cessation among youth and young adults.

Recent data gathered by the Government of Canada has shown a substantial increase in the prevalence of vaping. The increase captured in the 2019 Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey (CTNS) appears to be driven primarily by youth and young adult uptake. Through further research, the Government of Canada discovered that 60% of vapers would like to quit at some point, including 35% who reported wanting to quit within the next year. In terms of youth, cessation seems to be less of a priority; barriers as to why include withdrawal effects and peer pressure. Thus, while there is previous research examining vaping behaviour among Canadians, Health Canada would like to explore more deeply the motives youth and young adults hold towards trying to quit vaping. This research also aimed to help Health Canada understand the needs and support youth and young adults require with respect to vaping cessation. The research findings will be used to renew and update public awareness and commnunications materials developed for smoking cessation targeted at youth aged 12-18 to include vaping cessation content. Further, the research findings will be used to ensure youth and young adults have the best tools and resources at their disposal to quit vaping.

The specific objectives of the research were to understand what motivates youth and young adults to quit vaping, as well as determine which tools and resources are most useful to help youth and young adults quit vaping. The contract value for this project was $124,963.64 including HST.

To meet these objectives, Earnscliffe conducted a comprehensive wave of qualitative research involving a series of fourteen (14) online focus groups between November 17th and 23rd, 2020. The groups were conducted with residents of seven Canadian cities: St. John’s, NF; Moncton, NB; Montreal, QC; Toronto, ON; Regina, SK; Calgary, AB; and, Vancouver, BC. The groups were conducted with youth aged 15-19 and young adults aged 20-24. The groups with residents in Montreal and Moncton were conducted in French; the others were conducted in English.

It is important to note that qualitative research is a form of scientific, social, policy, and public opinion research. Focus group research is not designed to help a group reach a consensus or to make decisions, but rather to elicit the full range of ideas, attitudes, experiences, and opinions of a selected sample of participants on a defined topic. Because of the small numbers involved, the participants cannot be expected to be thoroughly representative in a statistical sense of the larger population from which they are drawn and findings cannot reliably be generalized beyond their number.

Overall Findings

The thrust of the findings across age and language were very consistent. Unless otherwise noted, findings in this report are common across all audiences and languages; only noteworthy differences are mentioned.

Reactions to Cessation and Campaign Materials

Please refer to the Appendix for all of the tested campaign materials.

Reasons to quit smoking or vaping (Annex A & B)

How will you quit smoking or vaping (Annex C)

Plan #1 Quit With a Friend’s Help (Annex D)

Plan #2 Cut Back First; Then Quit (Annex E)

Tracking Card (Annex F)

Program Title (Annex G)

Messages (Annex H)

Participants were presented with two series of messages that could be used in future vaping campaign materials. The first series related to cessation; the second to addiction.

Research Firm:

Earnscliffe Strategy Group Inc. (Earnscliffe)

Contract Number: HT372-202821/001/CY

Contract award date: July 29, 2020

I hereby certify as a Representative of Earnscliffe Strategy Group that the final deliverables fully comply with the Government of Canada political neutrality requirements outlined in the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada and Procedures for Planning and Contracting Public Opinion Research. Specifically, the deliverables do not include information on electoral voting intentions, political party preferences, standings with the electorate or ratings of the performance of a political party or its leaders.

Signed: Date: December 7, 2020

Stephanie Constable, Principal, Earnscliffe