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Reasons for Transition From Electronic Cigarette Use to Cigarette Smoking Among Young Adult College Students

While overall cigarette use has declined, it still poses a major health concern in young adults. There is added concern with young adults’ use of e-cigarettes that may lead to nicotine dependence. The purpose of the current study was to find self-reported reasons found young adults college students transitioning from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking. If the reason of this transition is known, preventions and interventions can be more targeted to help young adults with dangerous substance use.

Participants for this study (55 young adults) were recruited from a large Mid-Atlantic University. To qualify, students had to report e-cigarette use (100 e-cigarettes) or no cigarette smoking and one year later report smoking cigarettes. After being enrolled in the study, participants created statements describing reasons for transitioning their tobacco use. They then sorted these statements into categories and rated how true they felt the statement was for them.  The final study results showed 8 “clusters” of reasons for switching to cigarette use.

The clusters included sharing with others (parties), psychological coping (mental health), cigarette appeal (cravings), reinforcing effects of cigarettes (buzz,), accessibility (quick and easy), social influence (social activity), vaping stigma (e-cigarettes are lame), and vaping deficiencies (wanted to see differences). A major reason discovered among participants was that cigarettes provide a sensory and pleasurable aspect including taste, buzz, hit, smoke feel. Another main finding was the cost and access to e-cigarettes. These reasons provide insight for public health officials when making regulatory decisions for public health campaigns that hope to reduce the transition in young adults from e-cigarette to cigarette use.

Take Away: Cigarette use still poses a major health concern in young adults. The current study looks at reasons for college students transitioning form e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking. 55 young adults were recruited that had reported e-cigarettes use and one year later reporting smoking cigarettes. Participants were asked to organize reasons for their transition. The researchers found that overarching reasons included sharing with others, psychological coping, cigarette appeal, reinforcing effects of cigarettes, accessibility, social influence, vaping stigma, and vaping deficiencies. These reasons provide insight for public health officials when making regulatory decisions for public health campaigns that hope to reduce the transition in young adults from e-cigarette to cigarette use.

Hiler, M., Spindle, T. R., Dick, D., Eissenberg, T., Breland, A., & Soule, E. (2019). Reasons for Transition From Electronic Cigarette Use to Cigarette Smoking Among Young Adult College Students. Journal of Adolescent Health. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.09.003

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