Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Biological Science

First Advisor

Louisa Roberts

Second Advisor

Barbara Goodman

Third Advisor

Samuel Herley


vaping, e-cigarettes, nicotine, social desirability bias, South Dakota

Subject Categories

Epidemiology | Medicine and Health | Social Psychology and Interaction


The use of nicotine inhalation products among college students is an imminent public health issue, with young-adult populations being particularly likely to take up nicotine use during their college years (American College Health Association, 2021). Even with elevated levels of nicotine vapor product use in college populations, existing surveys may still underestimate the prevalence of nicotine use among this population. This study aimed to address this issue by conducting a survey of college students at the University of South Dakota, using a peer-to-peer approach to reduce social desirability bias. The study’s survey directly stated it was being issued and analyzed by a college student. The study also included an observational analysis to lend further credence to the survey results. The survey found significantly higher rates of vaping compared to official statistics from the National College Health Assessment and other agencies. These findings highlight the need for more accurate data-collection methods and interventions to reduce nicotine use among college students.



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