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Subst Use Misuse. 2016 Dec 5;51(14):1838-45. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1197940. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

Transitioning From Cigarettes to Electronic Cigarettes Increases Alcohol Consumption.

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a Department of Psychology , Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis , Indianapolis , Indiana , USA.



Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are a nicotine delivery device that have recently been linked to alcohol use. Many individuals that smoke cigarettes transition to e-cigs as an alternative to cigarette use, despite potential negative health effects of e-cigs. No research to date has examined how former smokers that have transitioned to e-cigs differ from former smokers that do not use e-cigs, particularly in relation to alcohol use. Further, no research has examined how former smokers that use e-cigs regularly or socially may differ in alcohol consumption.


Using an online community dwelling sample (Former smokers N = 198, mean age = 34.70, SD = 11.45, 56.1% female, 78.3% Caucasian, 37.9% e-cig users), the present study assessed smoking status and alcohol use, with the latter assessed using a timeline followback calendar and the alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT).


In all former smokers, total drinks (b = 4.01, p = 0.02) and average drinks per drinking day (b = 0.61, p =.01) were both related to e-cig use status, with e-cig users reporting higher alcohol consumption. Among e-cig using former smokers, social users, but not regular users, showed positive relationships with AUDIT scores, b = 1.90, p =.02, total drinks, b = 9.12, p <.001, average drinks, b = 0.98, p =.006, and hazardous drinking status, OR = 3.21, p =.01.


Findings suggest that: (1) former smokers who use e-cigs may have a potential for higher alcohol use; and (2) those who use e-cigs socially may be at heightened risk for hazardous patterns of alcohol consumption. This should be taken into consideration by healthcare providers.


Cigarettes; alcohol; e-cigarettes; former smokers; smoking

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