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Comparing American college and noncollege young adults on e-cigarette use

Much of the literature on e-cigarette use in conducted within college students. A recent study sought to compare e-cigarette and polysubstance use of noncollege young adults to that of college young adults.

In this study, data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study was examined for those aged 18-24. Specifically, e-cigarette, cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use were examined, as well as reasons for use. However, among those who used e-cigarettes, college students were more likely to use multiple substances including marijuana and alcohol along with e-cigarettes. As far as reasons for use, both groups tended to use e-cigarettes because they are more discreet than cigarettes, as a way of cutting down smoking, and as an alternative to tobacco. A higher proportion of college student e-cigarette users perceived e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes compared to noncollege users and used them for social reasons.

The results of this analysis showed that noncollege young adults had more prevalent cigarette, e-cigarette, and marijuana use, while college students had higher amounts of alcohol use.  Overall, motives for use of e-cigarettes differ between college and noncollege young adults, but polysubstance use among e-cigarette users is more likely in the college population.

Take Away: College and noncollege young adults commonly use e-cigarettes, and there are differences in their motives for doing so. Use of marijuana and alcohol as well as e-cigarettes is more common in the college population.

Buu, A., Hu, Y., Wong, S., Lin, H. (2019). Comparing American college and noncollege young adults on e-cigarette use patterns including polysubstance use and reasons for using e-cigarettes. Journal of American College Health. doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2019.1583662.

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