Background and objectives: Most studies on e-cigarettes have come from population-based surveys. The current research aimed to provide initial data on e-cigarette awareness, perceptions, use, and reasons for use among adults seeking substance use treatment.
Methods: A survey was conducted among 198 participants ≥18 years old in a community-based outpatient substance use treatment program.
Results: Of the 198 participants, 69% currently smoked cigarettes, 92% were aware of e-cigarettes, and 58% had ever used e-cigarettes. The proportion of the number of participants who had ever used e-cigarettes to the number who currently smoked (89.7%) appeared higher than the corresponding proportion in the 2012-13 National Adult Tobacco Survey (78.3%). Almost half of the sample who reported ever using e-cigarettes endorsed quitting or reducing smoking as a reason for use, and 32% endorsed reasons for use relating to curiosity/experimentation. A greater likelihood of e-cigarette ever-use was significantly associated with younger age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.94, 95%confidence interval [CI] = 0.90, 0.98) and perceptions related to using e-cigarettes in public places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed (AOR = 2.96, 95%CI = 1.18, 7.42) but was not associated with primary drug of choice.
Discussion and conclusions: E-cigarette use in adults seeking substance use treatment appears higher than it is in the US general population of smokers. The high frequency of use may be due to curiosity/experimentation or attempts to quit or reduce smoking.
Scientific significance: Future research may consider how e-cigarettes interact with other substance use and affect high rates of nicotine and tobacco use in this population.
© American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.