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Electronic Cigarette Use and Associated Risk Factors in U.S.-Dwelling Pacific Islander Young Adults

E-Cigarette use has increased throughout the United States, especially among young adults. The current study aims to fill gaps in e-cigarette use among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs). To do this, they look at similarities and differences in e-cigarettes use along with risk factors between two disparate NHPI young adult populations.

Inclusion criteria for this study included being aged 18-30 years, full or part-Samoan or Marshallese heritage, and living in target NHPI communities. Measures included demographics and e-cigarette use, current cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, and e-cigarette outcome experiences.  E-cigarette use was assessed by asking about frequency of use in the past month. Other substance use was assessed by asking about conventional cigarette use, current alcohol use, and marijuana use. Finally, outcome expectancies were assessed by asking four positive outcomes (more popular, feel relaxed, enjoy vaping, smell good) and four negative outcomes (hurt lungs, look awkward, become addicted, bad taste).

The final study included 143 total participants with 64% being of Marshallese ethnicity. 53% of NHPI young adults reported ever e-cigarette use and 39% reported current use in the past month. 54% reported current cigarette use, 79% reported current alcohol use, and 39% reported current marijuana use. Men were more likely to report using cigarettes and alcohol. Samoan participants were more likely to report ever e-cigarette with no other significant differences between Marshallese participants in other substance use. The most endorsed positive outcome was “feeling relaxed” and the most endorsed negative outcome was “becoming addicted to e-cigarettes.” Current marijuana use and positive e-cigarette outcome expectancies were found to be associated with e-cigarette use. These findings show the need for more research to explore risk and protective factors for e-cigarette use in this population of young adults.

Take Away: The current study aims to fill research gaps in e-cigarette use specifically among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs). To do this, they look at similarities and differences in e-cigarettes use along with risk factors between two disparate NHPI young adult populations. Measures included demographics and e-cigarette use, current cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, and e-cigarette outcome experiences.  The final study included 143 total participants with 64% being of Marshallese ethnicity. 53% of NHPI young adults reported ever e-cigarette use and 39% reported current use in the past month. Current marijuana use and positive e-cigarette outcome expectancies were found to be associated with e-cigarette use. These findings show the need for more research to explore risk and protective factors for e-cigarette use in this population of young adults.

Subica, A. M., Guerrero, E., Wu, L., Aitaoto, N., Iwamoto, D., & Moss, H. B. (2020). Electronic Cigarette Use and Associated Risk Factors in U.S.-Dwelling Pacific Islander Young Adults. Substance Use & Misuse, 55(10), 1702-1708. doi:10.1080/10826084.2020.1756855

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