Background Previous cross-sectional studies found that positive beliefs about electronic nicotine delivery systems (commonly known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes) were associated with use of these products. However, the prospective association between these beliefs and subsequent use of e-cigarettes is unclear. Purpose To identify the beliefs predicting subsequent use of e-cigarettes. Methods A total of 1379 young adults (mean age=24.1 years) from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort who reported never using e-cigarettes at baseline (collected Oct 2010-Mar 2011) and completed follow-up data collection (during Oct 2011-Mar 2012) were included in this analysis. Participants' beliefs about e-cigarettes (potential as quit aids, harmfulness and addictiveness relative to cigarettes) were asked at baseline (yes/no). At follow-up, participants were asked if they had ever used e-cigarettes. Logistic regression models were used to assess the associations between beliefs about e-cigarettes and subsequent experimentation. Analysis was conducted in 2012. Results At follow-up, 7.4% of the sample reported ever using e-cigarettes (21.6% among baseline current smokers, 11.9% among baseline former smokers, and 2.9% among baseline nonsmokers). Participants who believed e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and perceived e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes at baseline were more likely to report experimenting with e-cigarettes at follow-up (p<0.05). These associations did not differ by smoking status. Conclusions Given that young adults are still developing their tobacco use behaviors, informing them about the lack of evidence to support e-cigarettes as quit aids and the unknown health risk of e-cigarettes may deter young adults from trying these products.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (R01 CA86191: Jean Forster, principal investigator).