Effect of deployment on use of e-cigarettes in US military

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Prescott McWilliams, United States Air Force, San Antonio, Texas and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), Postgraduate Dental College (PDC), presented a poster titled "Effect of Deployment on Use of E-Cigarettes in U.S. Military." The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.

Little research has examined a potential association between military deployment and e-cigarette use. "Our objective was to develop an understanding of how military deployment affects the e-cigarette habit and its associated behaviors among a sample of Army and Air Force service members," said McWilliams.

Information on the prevalence, perception and use of e-cigarettes, in addition to history of deployment, was obtained using data from the "Tobacco Use Among Service Members" survey sponsored by the Murtha Cancer Center and the Air Force Postgraduate Dental School within the USU PDC.

In the study population of 2,500 participants, 45% had deployed, 14% had used e-cigarettes, with 5.7% experiencing both. Most users (67%) considered e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

In multivariable logistic regression analysis, being deployed to a combat unit was associated with lower odds of using e-cigarettes. Stratified analyses by perception of harm showed that soldiers deployed to combat units who perceived e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes had a 61% reduction in risk of using E-cigarettes.

McWilliams reported that being deployed to a combat unit was associated with lower odds of e-cigarette use, particularly among those with less perceived harm. These results demonstrate the need for better understanding the health effects associated with e-cigarettes and the development of targeted cessation/educational campaigns. Future research may include an analysis to identify factors associated with decreased use among those deployed to combat units.

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