"Electronic Cigarette/E-Cigs/E-Cigarettes" by Chris F is licensed under CC BY 2.0

E-Cig Use Increases Among Young Adults As Well As Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hongying (Daisy) Dai, PhD Associate Professor Department of Biostatistics | College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha

Dr. Hongying (Daisy) Dai

Hongying (Daisy) Dai, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Biostatistics | College of Public Health
University of Nebraska Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies have reported a surge in e-cigarette use among youth during the 2017 – 2018. For instance, the prevalence of current (past 30-day) e-cigarette use increased by 77.8% (from 11.7% to 20.8%) among high school students and by 48.5% (from 3.3% to 4.9%) among middle school students.

As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that youth e-cigarette use is reaching an epidemic proportion in September 2018. Whether e-cigarette use prevalence also increased among young adults (aged 18-24 years), a population with high e-cigarette use rates and vulnerability to nicotine dependence, is unknown.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: This study examined the current and daily e-cigarette use trends from 2014 to 2018 and the biannual change from 2017 to 2018 among U.S. adults of different ages. The key findings of this study are:

  1. Over 2014-2018, current and daily e-cigarette use prevalence increased among U.S. young adults but declined or remained stable in older adult age groups.
  2. The 46.2% increase (5.2% to 7.6%) in current e-cigarette use among young adults (aged 18-24) from 2017 to 2018 translates to 700,000 more U. young adult e-cigarette users.
  3. Among young adults, e-cigarette use increases during 2017-2018 were significant among former smokers, males, NH Whites, “other” race, and those with poverty ratio ≥4.0. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The 46.2% increase in current e-cigarette use from 2017-2018 among young adults parallel concurrent 48.5% and 77.8% increases in U.S. middle and high school students. Ongoing efforts to address the e-cigarette use epidemic in young people should not stop at age 18.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: First, Sales of pod-mod style e-cigarette products with high nicotine concentrations and appealing flavors markedly increased from 2017 to 2018, and are popular in adolescents. Whether pod-mod e-cigarettes play a role in rising e-cigarette use in young adults warrant further research.

Second, the reasons why 2017-2018 biannual increases were observed only among subpopulations of young adults, such as males and former smokers, merit further research. 

I have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


Dai H, Leventhal AM. Prevalence of e-Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States, 2014-2018. JAMA. Published online September 16, 2019. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.15331



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Last Updated on September 22, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD