Purpose: To examine prevalence of, and factors associated with, e-cigarette use among young people aged 16-17 in Ireland.
Methods: In 2014, a representative sample of 821 young people aged 16-17 recruited from secondary schools completed a pen and paper survey on e-cigarette use, tobacco use, and socio-demographic items.
Findings: A total of 23.8% of respondents had used e-cigarettes at least once. Dual trial of tobacco and e-cigarettes was common with 69.5% of regular smokers and 30.4% of 'ever' smokers having tried e-cigarettes and 10.6% of current smokers using e-cigarettes regularly. 4.2% of never smokers have tried e-cigarettes. Overall, current e-cigarette use (once a month or more) was low (3.2%). Binary logistic regression conducted through generalized estimating equations (GEE) determined that controlling for other variables, current tobacco use and 'ever' tobacco use predicted ever e-cigarette use. Gender and school-level socioeconomic status were also independent predictors of ever e-cigarette use. Gender stood as the only predictor of on-going e-cigarette use, with males being more likely to regularly use e-cigarettes at least once a month.
Conclusions: E-cigarette use among 16-17 year olds in Ireland is of note, with nearly a quarter of students having tried them. Concurrent or experimental use of e-cigarettes and tobacco is more common than sole use, while a small number have tried e-cigarettes without having tried tobacco.