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E-cigarette Use Among Young Adults in the U.S.

Research has shown that use of e-cigarettes is increasing among young adults in the U.S. However, it is unknown whether or not e-cigarette use serves as an aid for smoking reduction or cessation in this population. A new study examined the relationship between e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking in young adults.

A sample from the National Epidemiologic Survey was used to analyze data regarding young adults’ smoking frequency, smoking reduction efforts, and reasons for e-cigarette use.

The data showed that e-cigarette use was associated with an earlier age of having started smoking cigarettes, tobacco use disorder, and more frequent cigarette smoking. E-cigarette use was also linked to younger age, being male, being Caucasian, having completed some college, being single, and having a history of drug or alcohol use disorders. This research also indicated that most young adults who used e-cigarettes did not report them helping to reduce overall tobacco use. Overall, e-cigarettes were not found to be effective means of reducing or quitting smoking in young adults. Education and prevention efforts towards this population regarding e-cigarette use are necessary.

Take Away: While older adults are likely to use e-cigarettes as an effort to reduce or quit smoking, this is not the case in young adults. In this population, dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes is common in tobacco users and e-cigarettes are not commonly associated with smoking cessation efforts.

Olfson, M., Wall, M.M., Liu, S., Sultan, R.S., Blanco, C. (2019). E-cigarette Use Among Young Adults in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  doi.org/10.016/j.amepre.2018.12.004

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