A longitudinal study of electronic cigarette use among a population-based sample of adult smokers: association with smoking cessation and motivation to quit

Nicotine Tob Res. 2015 Feb;17(2):127-33. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu200. Epub 2014 Oct 9.


Aims: Increasingly popular electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may be the most promising development yet to end cigarette smoking. However, there is sparse evidence that their use promotes cessation. We investigated whether e-cigarette use increases smoking cessation and/or has a deleterious effect on quitting smoking and motivation to quit.

Methods: Representative samples of adults in 2 US metropolitan areas were surveyed in 2011/2012 about their use of novel tobacco products. In 2014, follow-up interviews were conducted with 695 of the 1,374 baseline cigarette smokers who had agreed to be re-contacted (retention rate: 51%). The follow-up interview assessed their smoking status and history of electronic cigarette usage. Respondents were categorized as intensive users (used e-cigarettes daily for at least 1 month), intermittent users (used regularly, but not daily for more than 1 month), and non-users/triers (used e-cigarettes at most once or twice).

Results: At follow-up, 23% were intensive users, 29% intermittent users, 18% had used once or twice, and 30% had not tried e-cigarettes. Logistic regression controlling for demographics and tobacco dependence indicated that intensive users of e-cigarettes were 6 times more likely than non-users/triers to report that they quit smoking (OR: 6.07, 95% CI = 1.11, 33.2). No such relationship was seen for intermittent users. There was a negative association between intermittent e-cigarette use and 1 of 2 indicators of motivation to quit at follow-up.

Conclusions: Daily use of electronic cigarettes for at least 1 month is strongly associated with quitting smoking at follow-up. Further investigation of the underlying reasons for intensive versus intermittent use will help shed light on the mechanisms underlying the associations between e-cigarette use, motivation to quit, and smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Research
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Young Adult