Electronic cigarettes among priority populations: role of smoking cessation and tobacco control policies

Am J Prev Med. 2016 Feb;50(2):199-209.
Authors: Huang J, Kim Y, Vera L, Emery SL.

INTRODUCTION: The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) market has evolved rapidly in recent years, with exploding growth in brands and product types; however, e-cigarette use among priority (sexual minority and low-income) populations and its relationship with smoking-cessation and tobacco control policies have yet to be fully characterized. METHODS: The authors conducted a nationally representative online survey of 17,522 U.S. adults in 2013. Participants were drawn from GfK's KnowledgePanel®. Logistic regression models were used to analyze relationships between e-cigarettes (awareness, ever use, current use) and cigarette smoking and cessation behaviors, tobacco control policies, and demographics. Analyses were conducted in 2014. RESULTS: Approximately 15% of participants reported ever use of e-cigarettes, 5.1% reported current use, and 34.5% of ever users reported current use. E-cigarette awareness was lower among women, minorities, and those with low education. Ever and current use of e-cigarettes was higher among current cigarette smokers, young adults, and those with low SES; both ever use and current use were correlated with current cigarette smoking status, particularly when combined with quit intentions or attempts. Lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender respondents had higher rates of ever use and current use. Ever use was lower in states with comprehensive smoking bans. No significant relationship between cigarette price and e-cigarette use was detected. CONCLUSIONS: Ongoing surveillance of e-cigarette use among subpopulation groups and monitoring their use for combustible cigarette cessation are needed. Important variations in the patterns and correlates of e-cigarette awareness and use exist among priority populations. These findings have implications for future e-cigarette policy decisions.

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