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E-cigarette Use is Prospectively Associated with Initiation of Cannabis among College Students

E-cigarettes and their use have become a major topic of discussion, especially in the young adult population. Along with the increased e-cigarette use, cannabis use has risen as legalization has expanded. This study looks at whether e-cigarette use leads to cannabis use in a sample of college students over a 4 year time period.

The participants were used from The Split for Science project which is a university-wide project at a large university. The final sample included 4,670 college students and they gathered data from students during 4 waves including freshman spring, sophomore spring, junior spring, and senior spring. They asked during each sample point about e-cigarette use, cigarette use, cannabis use in the last 12 months, and control variables (depressive symptoms, polysubstance use, alcohol use, sensation seeking, ethnicity/race, age, and sex). Both e-cigarette use and cannabis use were similar across each wave of data collection with the highest being in the fourth year.

The researchers found polysubstance use, alcohol use, and depressive symptoms showed remained stable at each collection. Women showed significantly lower e-cigarette and cannabis use across the study. The data showed that e-cigarette use and cannabis use were positively correlated and e-cigarette use significantly predicted cannabis use one year later for two timepoints. The researchers controlled for traditional cigarette use and found that it was not a predictor of cannabis use. This correlation between e-cigarette use and cannabis use is important as cannabis is further legalized. The data provides insight into the trends of use in young adults for these two substances and is critical when regulatory decisions are being made in the future, especially for young adults.

Take Away: E-cigarette use has become a major topic of discussion along with cannabis use as its legalization has expanded. This study looks at whether e-cigarette use leads to cannabis use in a sample of college students over a 4 year time period. 4,670 college students were in the final study and they collected data during freshman spring, sophomore spring, junior spring, and senior spring. They asked about e-cigarette use, cigarette use, cannabis use, and several control variables. Both e-cigarette use and cannabis use were similar across each wave of data collection and e-cigarette use significantly predicted cannabis use one year later for two timepoints. Correlation between e-cigarette use and cannabis use is important as cannabis is further legalized. This data provides insight into the trends of use in young adults and is critical when regulatory decisions are being made in the future.

Ksinan, A. J., Spindle, T. R., Thomas, N. S., Eissenberg, T., & Dick, D. M. (2020). E-cigarette Use is Prospectively Associated with Initiation of Cannabis among College Students. Addictive Behaviors, 106312. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106312

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