Although there has been progress in trying to decrease the use of cigarette smoking, a new method of smoking has evolved which is rapidly increasing, namely vaping. Adolescents who participate in smoking are more likely to increase smoking frequency if they believed that it is self-defining (“I smoke cigarettes” versus “I am a smoker”). While there has been evidence to support the claim that internal motives for smoking are correlated with smoker identity development, there has been none, to our knowledge, found for vaping identity. Due to the similarities of smoking and vaping, it is important to discover whether those who vape also have an identity similar to those who smoke. In other words, with vaping being a new technology, do users identify themselves as “I am a vaper” or “I vape e-cigarettes”? The way in which users identify themselves may have important implications for intervention efforts.

Further, smoking is a type of substance abuse, and substance abuse, primarily alcohol, has been linked to identity status, identity distress, and psychopathology. Smoking has been linked to alcohol use and abuse, but it is unclear if smoking is related to similar identity and adjustment variables, particularly internalizing symptoms, in the same way as alcohol use. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the associations between smoking, vaping, identity, and psychopathology.

Using college student participants (N = 303) who completed anonymous online surveys for course credit, four hypotheses were tested, but none was confirmed. Possible reasons for the lack of significant findings are discussed. Despite the lack of findings in regard to the relationship among the study variables, the new concept and measure of vaping identity proposed in this thesis appear to be a potentially valid and useful avenue for future research.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Berman, Steven L.


Ghiasinejad, Shahram


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program




Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Psychology Commons