Electronic Cigarette Use and Progression From Experimentation to Established Smoking

Pediatrics. 2018 Apr;141(4):e20173594. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3594. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Background: It has been shown that never-smoking adolescents who try electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are at increased risk of subsequent conventional cigarette smoking. We evaluated associations between e-cigarette use and progression to established smoking among adolescents who had already tried cigarettes.

Methods: Among participants (age 12-17 years) in the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health survey who had smoked a cigarette (≥1 puff) but not yet smoked 100 cigarettes (N = 1295), we examined 3 outcomes at 1-year follow-up as a function of baseline e-cigarette use: (1) having smoked ≥100 cigarettes (established smoking), (2) smoking during the past 30 days, and (3) both having smoked ≥100 cigarettes and past 30-day smoking (current established smoking). Survey-weighted multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) adjusted for smoking risk factors.

Results: Versus e-cigarette never use, having ever used e-cigarettes was positively associated with progression to established cigarette smoking (19.3% vs 9.7%), past 30-day smoking (38.8% vs 26.6%), and current established smoking (15.6% vs 7.1%). In adjusted models, e-cigarette ever use positively predicted current established smoking (OR: 1.80; 95% CI: 1.04-3.12) but did not reach statistical significance (α = .05) for established smoking (OR: 1.57; 95% CI: 0.99-2.49) and past 30-day smoking (OR: 1.32; 95% CI: 0.99-1.76).

Conclusions: Among adolescent cigarette experimenters, using e-cigarettes was positively and independently associated with progression to current established smoking, suggesting that e-cigarettes do not divert from, and may encourage, cigarette smoking in this population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology
  • Cigarette Smoking / psychology*
  • Cigarette Smoking / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Vaping / epidemiology
  • Vaping / psychology*
  • Vaping / trends*
  • Young Adult