Do Adolescent Smokers Use E-Cigarettes to Help Them Quit? The Sociodemographic Correlates and Cessation Motivations of U.S. Adolescent E-Cigarette Use

Am J Health Promot. 2015 Jul-Aug;29(6):374-9. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.131120-QUAN-595. Epub 2014 Jun 26.


Purpose: To examine the sociodemographic traits of adolescent e-cigarette users and whether e-cigarettes are used as cessation aids among adolescent smokers.

Design: The study had a cross-sectional design.

Setting: Study setting was the United States.

Subjects: A probability sample of 15,264 adolescents in grades 6 through 12 was used.

Measures: The study measured self-reported lifetime e-cigarette use and recent conventional cigarette use, desire to quit, and number of recent quit attempts (among conventional cigarette smokers), and factors hypothesized to be related to e-cigarette use (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, friendships with smokers).

Analysis: Logistic regression was used to assess e-cigarette use among (1) all adolescents and (2) conventional cigarette smokers as a function of quit desire and attempts.

Results: Descriptive analyses show 3.2% of respondents had used e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use is significantly lower for females (adjusted odds ratio [OR], .70), non-Hispanic black youth (adjusted OR, .37), and Mexican-American youth (adjusted OR, .56), and higher for those who smoke conventional cigarettes (adjusted OR, 58.44) or have friends who smoke (adjusted OR, 2.38). Among conventional cigarette smokers, neither desire to quit nor recent quit attempts is significantly associated with e-cigarette use.

Conclusions: E-cigarette use is more common among certain adolescent subgroups than others and does not appear to be part of a cessation regimen among conventional cigarette smokers wishing to quit. More regulatory and prevention efforts are needed, especially for certain adolescent subpopulations.

Keywords: Adolescence; Health Promotion; Health focus: smoking control; Manuscript format: research; Outcome measure: behavioral; Prevention; Prevention Research; Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing and descriptive; Setting: national and school; Smoking; Strategy: behavior change and policy; Study design: survey research; Target population age: youth; Target population circumstances: all education levels, all income levels, all U.S. locations, and all races/ethnicities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Self Report
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • United States