Electronic Cigarette Use and Uptake of Cigarette Smoking: A Longitudinal Examination of U.S. College Students

Addict Behav. 2017 Apr;67:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.12.009. Epub 2016 Dec 18.

Abstract

Introduction: Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use prevalence is increasing among U.S. adolescents and adults but recent longitudinal data for college/university students are scarce. Furthermore, the extent that e-cigarette use is associated with the onset of cigarette smoking and the factors that lead to the uptake of e-cigarettes in college students has not been explored.

Methods: 3757 participants from a Mid-Atlantic university (women: 66%; White: 45%; Black: 21%; Asian: 19%; Hispanic/Latino: 6%) were surveyed in 2014 and again in 2015.

Results: Among participants reporting never smoking at time 1, those who had ever tried e-cigarettes or were currently using e-cigarettes (at least one use in past 30days) were more likely to have ever tried cigarettes by time 2 relative to individuals who had not used e-cigarettes. Ever use of e-cigarettes (but not current use) also increased participants' likelihood of being current cigarette smokers at time 2. Among initial never users of e-cigarettes or cigarettes, males and ever marijuana users had an increased probability of trying e-cigarettes by time 2. Furthermore, less perseverance (an index of impulsivity) and ever use of other tobacco products increased initial never users' chances of trying both cigarettes and e-cigarettes by time 2.

Conclusions: Given that never-smoking participants who had tried e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate cigarette use later, limiting young adults' access to these products may be beneficial. As the long-term health implications of e-cigarette use become clearer, predictors of e-cigarette use could help identify future populations likely to use and abuse these products.

Keywords: College/university students; Electronic cigarettes; Longitudinal tobacco use; Tobacco cigarettes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities