Perceived health risks of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) users: The role of cigarette smoking status

Addict Behav. 2019 Apr:91:156-163. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.10.044. Epub 2018 Oct 30.


Introduction: Use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has increased markedly. We examined how current ENDS users differ in perceptions of tobacco and ENDS-related health risks as a function of cigarette smoking status.

Methods: We classified 1329 current ENDS users completing a national online survey based on cigarette smoking status, and employed linear and logistic regression to assess group differences in perceptions of tobacco-related health risks.

Results: The sample consisted of 38% Current Cigarette Smokers, 40% Former Cigarette Smokers, and 22% Non-Smokers. Our targeted recruitment strategy yielded a balance of key descriptive variables across participants. Significant differences were observed in race, employment and marital status across cigarette smoking status, but not in gender, education, income, or sexual orientation. Participants reported considerable perceived knowledge about health risks associated with tobacco use, but less regarding ENDS use. Current Smokers rated ENDS use as riskier than Non-Smokers, and considered cigarette use less risky for both users and bystanders. Current Smokers were more likely to perceive cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer as the health risks associated with ENDS use. Former Smokers were more likely to perceive such risks with traditional tobacco use. Further, regardless of smoking status, perceived knowledge about the health risks of tobacco or ENDS use was positively associated with perceived likelihood of high risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Conclusions: Among current ENDS users, there were significant differences in perceived health risks based on cigarette smoking history. Improved health messaging can be achieved when cigarette smoking status is taken into account.

Keywords: Cigarette smoking; Dual users; Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS); Tobacco; Vaping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Cigarette Smoking*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Employment
  • Ethnicity
  • Ex-Smokers*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-Smokers*
  • Perception
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Smokers*
  • White People
  • Young Adult