A Descriptive Report of Electronic Cigarette Use After Participation in a Community-Based Tobacco Cessation Trial

Nicotine Tob Res. 2017 Dec 13;20(1):135-139. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx013.


Introduction: Smokers are using electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, as a cessation aid, despite uncertainty about their efficacy. This report describes the association between use of e-cigarettes before and after cessation treatment and tobacco abstinence at 12 months. It also presents characteristics of e-cigarette users and reasons for use.

Methods: A longitudinal observational secondary analysis of self-reported e-cigarette use was conducted among adult Appalachian smokers enrolled in a community-based tobacco dependence treatment trial (n = 217). Data were collected at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months following treatment. The primary outcome measure was biochemically-confirmed 7-day point prevalence tobacco abstinence at 12 months post-treatment.

Results: One in five participants reported using e-cigarettes post-treatment. Baseline sociodemographic and tobacco-related characteristics did not differ by e-cigarette use. Primary reasons for e-cigarette use included help in quitting, help in cutting down on cigarettes, and not as bad for health. At the 12 month follow-up, tobacco abstinence was significantly lower among post-treatment e-cigarette users (4.7%) than nonusers (19.0%); (OR = 0.21 95% CI: 0.05-0.91, p = .021). Baseline use was not associated with 12-month abstinence.

Conclusions: Among adult Appalachian smokers enrolled in community-based tobacco cessation treatment, use of e-cigarettes post-treatment was associated with lower abstinence rates at 12 months.

Implications: This descriptive report of electronic cigarette use after participation in a community-based group randomized tobacco dependence treatment trial adds to the body of science examining e-cigarette use and cessation. Post-treatment e-cigarette use was associated with less success in achieving abstinence at 12 months, as compared to nonuse. At 3 months post-treatment, the majority of those who reported use of e-cigarettes did so to assist with cessation.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / methods*