Objective: To examine the relationship between spending on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and disease symptoms compared with the relationship between 30-day e-cigarette use and disease symptoms among adult cigarette smokers in the U.S.
Methods: We analyzed data from the Tobacco and Attitudes Beliefs Survey which included 533 respondents aged 24+ who were current cigarette smokers and e-cigarette ever users. Fifteen self-reported disease symptoms were included as outcome variables. Separate multivariable logistic regression models were estimated for each disease symptom with total spending on e-cigarettes in the past 30 days and with reported 30-day e-cigarette use. All models controlled for cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) and sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: We found that those who spent more on e-cigarettes were more likely to report chest pain (AOR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.02-1.52), to notice blood when brushing their teeth (AOR = 1.23, 95% CI 1.02-1.49), to have sores or ulcers in their mouth (AOR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.08-1.72), and to have more than one cold (AOR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.05-1.78) than those with no spending on e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in an adjusted analysis. After controlling for CPD and other covariates, there were no significant relationships between 30-day e-cigarette use and symptoms. Even after controlling for CPD, e-cigarette expenditures or use was associated with greater odds of wheezing and shortness of breath.
Conclusions: E-cigarette expenditures might be a more useful measure of intensity of e-cigarette use. The additional health effect of e-cigarette use or expenditures among smokers independent of the effect of CPD suggests that e-cigarette use adds adverse health effects even among cigarette smokers.