E-cigarette use is rapidly expanding in the United States and is projected to be a $3 billion industry by the end of this year. E-cigarette use in Hawai'i is significantly higher than national averages. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship in Hawai'i between demographic characteristics and several aspects of e-cigarette use including percentage of residents trying e-cigarettes, reasons for use, and perceived effects on health. Survey data were collected from a random sample of Hawai'i residents via the telephone in the summer of 2015, using methodology similar to that of the Hawai'i Health Survey. Chi-squared tests found e-cigarette use to be significantly associated with age (P =.001), gender (P =.03), ethnicity (P <.001), and education (P <.001). Among e-cigarette users, 12% said they started smoking regular cigarettes after starting e-cigarettes, 21% said their use of regular cigarettes did not change, 6% said they reduced use of regular cigarettes, and 20% said they completely stopped smoking regular cigarettes. Multivariable logistic regression results suggest Native Hawaiians (OR=29.1, P =.01) and Filipinos (OR=24.3, P =.01) were significantly more likely to report perceived improved health due to e-cigarette use compared to Caucasians. Given existing health disparities for Native Hawaiians and Filipinos, the fact that these groups are significantly more likely than other ethnic/racial groups to report that e-cigarettes improved their health bears notice and highlights the need for additional research in this area.
Keywords: Electronic cigarettes; Hawai‘i; health disparities; smoking.