Electronic Cigarette Use in Straight-to-Work Young Adults

Am J Health Behav. 2016 Mar;40(2):268-79. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.40.2.12.


Objective: We explored beliefs about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as well as social influences on e-cigarette use in straight-to-work (STW) young adults.

Methods: Thirty interviews were conducted with STW young adults ages 19-31 years old. We asked participants about smoking and e-cigarette use, beliefs about e-cigarettes, and influences on decisions to use e-cigarettes. We conducted interviews in community locations and transcribed and coded them using NVivo.

Results: We identified 4 themes: benefits of e-cigarette use; dual use/continued smoking; social influences; and quitting smoking and e-cigarettes. STW young adults initiated e-cigarette use to quit smoking but most became dual users or reported cycles of smoking and e-cigarette use. Flavors were a primary attraction for e-cigarette users. Family and friends supported e-cigarette use and often provided participants with their first e-cigarette. Most participants who no longer identified as smokers still smoked occasionally. Users felt they were more positively perceived by others when they used e-cigarettes but were still seen as smokers or former smokers.

Conclusions: E-cigarette use may bring STW young adults closer to their aspirational identity of non-smoker but many may be vulnerable to smoking relapse or increased dependence on nicotine through dual use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / psychology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Young Adult