Refillable e-cigarettes were popular among youth in England in 2021. The UK Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (TRPR) limits e-liquids to 20 mg/mL of nicotine in a 10 mL bottle. Short-fill e-liquids, which are not covered by TRPR regulations, are typically nicotine-free and come in larger, underfilled bottles allowing customisation with the addition of ‘nicotine shots’. This paper investigates awareness, use, and reasons for use of short-fill e-liquids among youth in England.
Data are from the online 2021 International Tobacco Control Youth Survey, comprising 4224 youth (aged 16–19 years) in England. Weighted logistic regression models investigated associations between awareness and past 30-day use of short-fills by smoking status, vaping status, nicotine strength vaped and participant demographics. Reasons for use were also reported.
Approximately one-quarter (23.0%) of youth in England reported awareness of short-fill e-liquids. Among youth who had vaped in the past 30 days, 22.1% had used short-fills in the past 30 days; use was most prevalent among those who were also smoking (43.2%) and those who reported usually vaping nicotine concentrations of 2.1% (21 mg/mL) or more (40.8%). ‘Convenience of a bigger bottle’ was the most selected reason for use (45.0%), followed by ‘less expensive than regular e-liquids’ (37.6%).
Awareness of short-fills was common among youth in 2021, including among those who had never vaped or smoked. Among youth who vaped in the past 30 days, short-fill use was more prevalent among those who also smoked and those who vaped nicotine-containing e-liquids. Integration of short-fill products into existing e-cigarette regulations should be considered.