Risky behaviors, e-cigarette use and susceptibility of use among college students

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Apr 1;149:25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 24.


Background: Since 2007, there has been a rise in the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). The present study uses cross-sectional data (2013) to examine prevalence, correlates and susceptibility to e-cigarettes among young adults.

Methods: Data were collected using an Internet survey from a convenience sample of 1437, 18-23 year olds attending four colleges/universities in Upstate New York. Results were summarized using descriptive statistics; logistic regression models were analyzed to identify correlates of e-cigarette use and susceptibility to using e-cigarettes.

Results: Nearly all respondents (95.5%) reported awareness of e-cigarettes; 29.9% were ever users and 14.9% were current users. Younger students, males, non-Hispanic Whites, respondents reporting average/below average school ability, ever smokers and experimenters of tobacco cigarettes, and those with lower perceptions of harm regarding e-cigarettes demonstrated higher odds of ever use or current use. Risky behaviors (i.e., tobacco, marijuana or alcohol use) were associated with using e-cigarettes. Among never e-cigarette users, individuals involved in risky behaviors or, with lower harm perceptions for e-cigarettes, were more susceptible to future e-cigarette use.

Conclusions: More e-cigarette users report use of another nicotine product besides e-cigarettes as the first nicotine product used; this should be considered when examining whether e-cigarette use is related to cigarette susceptibility. Involvement in risky behaviors is related to e-cigarette use and susceptibility to e-cigarette use. Among college students, e-cigarette use is more likely to occur in those who have also used other tobacco products, marijuana, and/or alcohol.

Keywords: College students; Electronic cigarettes; Smoking; Susceptibility to smoking; Tobacco; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult