Patterns and trends of dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes among U.S. adults, 2015-2018

Prev Med Rep. 2019 Oct 25;16:101009. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.101009. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Introduction: If dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes is a transition state to tobacco and nicotine use cessation, it may be a tolerable temporary condition. But, if a long-term behavior, dual use may increase tobacco harm to the population as a whole, and efforts should aim to reduce it as much as possible. To develop effective tobacco control policy, the changes in dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes need to be better understood.

Methods: National probability samples of U.S. adults in 2015 (n = 6051), 2016 (n = 6014), 2017 (n = 5992), and 2018 (n = 5989) reported their smoking and e-cigarette use status, including frequency of use. Weighted multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine temporal trends and patterns of cigarette and e-cigarette use.

Results: Between 2015 and 2018, the prevalence of current e-cigarette use (29.8% in 2015, 22.3% in 2016, 29.1% in 2017, and 27.7% in 2018) did not change significantly among current smokers. This result was consistent among light, moderate, and heavy smokers, and did not change when stratified by sex, age and race. However, the prevalence of cigarette smoking in current e-cigarette users declined from 56.9% in 2015 to 40.8% in 2018 (p < 0.001). Among never (p = .012) and former (ps < 0.001) smokers the prevalence of current e-cigarette use increased significantly.

Conclusion: The continued high prevalence of dual use and increased prevalence of current e-cigarette use among never smokers highlight the need for better communication about the risks of prolonged dual use for e-cigarette users, and the risks of nicotine initiation and addiction for nonusers.