Obesity and Cigarette Smoking: Extending the Link to E-cigarette/Vaping Use

Am J Health Behav. 2017 May 1;41(3):338-347. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.41.3.13.


Objectives: In recent years, electronic tobacco (e-cigarette/vaping) use among young adults has grown exponentially. Given past research linking obesity and cigarette smoking, assessing whether this relationship extends to electronic tobacco use is warranted. The current study examined weight status as a correlate of substance use patterns reflecting electronic tobacco use.

Methods: Survey data were collected from a convenience sample of 452 (59% female) undergraduates attending a large, public university during the 2015-2016 academic year. Latent class analysis (LCA) was conducted to identify substance use classes and examine weight status as a covariate of class membership.

Results: LCA analyses identified 4 classes: High Substance Use (19%), Risky Alcohol Use (14%), Cigarette/Electronic Tobacco Use (17%), and Low Substance Use (50%). Both obesity status and greater deviation from one's group body mass index (BMI) norm were associated with a higher likelihood of belonging to the Cigarette/Electronic Tobacco Use class.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that electronic tobacco use may fit well into previously established relationships between higher weight status and tobacco use. Future research should examine the longitudinal processes and pathways underlying the relationship between weight status and electronic tobacco use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cigarette Smoking*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Vaping*
  • Young Adult