E-cigarette use among young adults: A latent class analysis examining co-use and correlates of nicotine vaping

Addict Behav. 2020 Nov:110:106528. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106528. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


Introduction: Although a significant proportion of young adults report e-cigarette use (nicotine vaping), little is known about co-use with other substances, including correlates that predict co-use. The current study aimed to identify co-occurring substance use patterns and evaluate multiple correlates in a college student sample.

Methods: 435 participants (21.4 ± 2.9 years; 57% women; 41% Hispanic/Latina/o, 29% Asian-American/Pacific Islander, 17% Caucasian/White, 6% Multiracial, and 5% African-American/Black) from a large, urban university were recruited in-person and completed an online survey in the fall of 2018 and the spring of 2019.

Results: Using latent class analysis (LCA), four substance use patterns were identified: Binge Drinkers (7%); e-cigarette Users (8%); Cannabis Users (14%); and Low Substance Users (71%). The e-cigarette Users class was characterized by moderate or greater use (>5 days of nicotine vaping in past 30-days) as well as past 30-day binge drinking and cannabis use. Higher levels of deviant peer affiliation (aOR = 1.28[1.11-1.47], p < .01), impulsivity-lack of premeditation (aOR = 1.36[1.05-1.78], p < .05), and lower levels of social anxiety (aOR = 0.94[0.88-0.99], p < .05), predicted membership in the e-cigarette Users class.

Conclusions: The most pervasive co-occurring substance use was observed among the e-cigarette Users class. Young adults reporting moderate or greater levels of nicotine vaping tended to engage in binge drinking and cannabis use, which may ultimately increase risk of deleterious health outcomes. Deviant peer affiliation and impulsivity-lack of premeditation (but not internalizing symptoms) predicted membership in the e-cigarette Users class; consequently, public health efforts may benefit from increased selectivity in targeting young adults for e-cigarette prevention and intervention services.

Keywords: Binge drinking; Cannabis/marijuana; Co-use; E-cigarette use; Nicotine vaping; Young adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Male
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Vaping*
  • Young Adult