05 Oct E-Cigarette Use Increased in Young Adult Never Smokers
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Priti Bandi PhD
Principal Scientist, Risk Factors Surveillance Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Trends in e-cigarette prevalence and population count of users according to cigarette smoking histories are unknown. These data are needed to inform public health actions against a rapidly changing U.S. e-cigarette market.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study assessed trends between 2014 and 2018 in the prevalence of e-cigarette use and population count of e-cigarette users, according to combustible cigarette smoking histories, in younger (18–29 years), middle-aged (30–49 years), and older (≥50 years.) U.S. adults.
The most notable finding was an increase in e-cigarette use among younger adult never smokers of combustible cigarettes, whose use nearly tripled (1.3% to 3.3%) between 2014-2018, potentially suggesting increasing primary nicotine initiation with e-cigarettes. While this two-percentage point increase appears modest, when combined with a large and growing prevalence and population of never-smokers nationally, this increase represented the largest absolute increase in e-cigarette users – an estimated 0.87 million more never smoking younger adults users in 2018 (1.35 million) than in 2014 (0.49 million). We also note substantial increases in e-cigarette use among near-term quitters (i.e. those that quit combustible cigarettes 1-8 years ago, when e-cigarettes proliferated the US retail market) across all age groups. This trend suggests continued use of e-cigarette devices among those who may have switched from cigarettes previously, potentially for nicotine maintenance.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This study’s cross-sectional nature precludes any causal implications between e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking status. For example, we could not causally relate e-cigarette use in cigarette quitters and the likelihood of quitting. Also, prevalence trends do not imply transitions within individuals; for example, the increase in e-cigarette use in cigarette quitters could not be temporally related to either e-cigarettes or cessation aids’ use. Future longitudinal research exploring the reasons for and trajectories of e-cigarette use is needed.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Urgent efforts are needed to address the potential rise in primary nicotine initiation with e-cigarettes among younger adults. It is also important to aid the transition of e-cigarette users—particularly among younger adults—to non-use of all tobacco or nicotine products given that the long-term consequences of e-cigarette use are mostly unknown.
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