E-cigarette use among college students—helpful aid or risky enabler?

June 30, 2016, Taylor & Francis

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use continues to rise, and current data regarding use of e-cigarettes among college students are needed. The study, "Electronic Cigarette Use Among College Students: Links to Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Smoking, and Heavy Drinking" found in the Journal of American College Health connects e-cigarette use in colleges to high rates of alcohol consumption and other factors such as: gender, race/ethnicity and traditional cigarettes. The rise of e-cigarettes may be a positive consequence of cigarette smokers who use this product to quit smoking or to avoid the toxicity of traditional cigarettes. However, e-cigarette use does not always reflect an attempt to reduce cigarette smoking and may instead indicate a general propensity to use psychoactive substances, especially among emerging adults.

The purpose of this study was to examine e-cigarette use and the relation of such use with gender, race/ethnicity, traditional tobacco use, and . A sample of 599 enrolled in General Psychology at a state university completed a self-report questionnaire. Twenty-nine percent of students reported prior use of e-cigarettes, with 14% reporting use in the past 30 days. E-cigarette use was linked to male gender but not to race/ethnicity. Dual use (i.e., concurrent use of both traditional and e-cigarettes) was related to heavier use of traditional and e-cigarettes, and nicotine use was linked to pronounced rates of heavy drinking.

The authors write: "The current findings suggest that e-cigarettes may represent another "tool in the tool chest" among college students with a proclivity to use (and misuse) psychoactive substances."

Of most concern is the link between e-cigarette use and heavy drinking. "Although smoke-free legislation has led to several public health benefits, the increasing popularity and presence of e-cigarettes may allow college students to circumvent these bans and more readily co-use and nicotine. Several lines of evidence suggest that nicotine use (a) enhances the reinforcing effects of alcohol use, especially among men; (b) increases the duration of a drinking episode; and (c) leads to higher levels of cravings for both alcohol and cigarettes when co-used with alcohol. Further, alcohol and tobacco use disorders are prospectively linked in college students."

The results showed that e-cigarette use among college students is exponentially on the rise, and its co-use with alcohol may contribute to negative outcomes in this population.

Explore further: Researcher finds teenage e-cigarette use 'clustered' in certain schools

More information: Andrew K. Littlefield et al. Electronic Cigarette Use Among College Students: Links to Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Smoking, and Heavy Drinking, Journal of American College Health (2015). DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2015.1043130

Related Stories

Researcher finds teenage e-cigarette use 'clustered' in certain schools

April 26, 2016
A new study from the University of Colorado Denver finds that certain school environments have an impact on electronic cigarette use among teenagers.

Increase in e-cigarette use, decrease in smoking, is encouraging, expert says

April 20, 2015
The increase in electronic cigarette use, coupled with a decrease in smoking, could be a positive sign for the prevention of cigarette use, said Lynn Kozlowski, University at Buffalo professor of community health and health ...

Human heart cells respond less to e-cig vapour than tobacco smoke

May 4, 2016
New research has showed substantial differences in the way human heart cells respond to e-cigarette smoke and conventional cigarette smoke.

E-cigarettes connected to problematic drinking, study finds

October 28, 2015
Using e-cigarettes is related to problematic drinking, according to new research published in Addictive Behaviors. In a study involving around 1400 people, researchers also found that more women than men use e-cigarettes ...

E-cigarettes not meeting potential as 'disruptive technology,' public health study shows

May 9, 2016
Most smokers who have tried electronic cigarettes have rejected them as less satisfying than regular cigarettes, reducing their potential to be a "disruptive technology" that could help a significant number of smokers to ...

Why do college-aged young adults use e-cigarettes?

January 12, 2016
Numerous studies have examined the reasons adults use e-cigarettes. But what drives another important group—college-aged young adults—to use them? Turns out, like most things they are known to try, it's for enjoyment.

Recommended for you

Expert calls for strong, sustainable action to make world roadways safer

December 7, 2018
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on road safety, more than 1.3 million people die on the world's roadways each year—and millions more are injured or disabled. Yet despite the huge cost to families ...

Hazelnuts improve older adults' micronutrient levels

December 6, 2018
Older adults who added hazelnuts to their diet for a few months significantly improved their levels of two key micronutrients, new research at Oregon State University indicates.

Regular bedtimes and sufficient sleep for children may lead to healthier teens

December 6, 2018
Having a regular, age-appropriate bedtime and getting sufficient sleep from early childhood may be important for healthy body weight in adolescence, according to researchers at Penn State.

Stress from using electronic health records is linked to physician burnout

December 5, 2018
While electronic health records (EHRs) improve communication and access to patient data, researchers found that stress from using EHRs is associated with burnout, particularly for primary care doctors such as pediatricians, ...

Chemicals in personal care and household products linked to earlier puberty in girls

December 4, 2018
Chemicals that are widely used in personal care and household products are linked to girls entering puberty at earlier ages, according to findings from a long-running study of mothers and children published today.

Smokers who roll their own less inclined to quit

December 4, 2018
Smokers who roll their own cigarettes are less likely to try quitting smoking, according to a new study carried out by UCL.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.