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Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Jul 9;20(8):940-948. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx194.

E-cigarette Use Among US Adults: Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
2
James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

Abstract

Introduction:

In 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration launched the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study to gather information for regulatory activities authorized by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA).

Methods:

Data were drawn from the first wave of the PATH survey, involving interviews of 32 320 civilian and non-institutionalized adults. In addition to conventional classifications for current, former and never smoking and e-cigarette use, we used PATH questions to classify former and current triers of these products. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the prevalence, patterns of, and reasons for e-cigarette use, and the perceptions of nicotine and e-cigarettes among user groups, according to smoking status.

Results:

The prevalence of current smoking was 18%; an additional 3.1% of participants were current triers. The prevalence of current e-cigarette use was 2.4% (1.0% every day, 1.4% some days), with another 3.2% as current triers. The majority of nonsmokers who were current e-cigarette users were already current (56%) or former (34%) cigarette triers. Reasons for e-cigarette use were similar across subgroups, but patterns of use were different. Majorities of participants believed that nicotine is the main substance driving tobacco use, that nicotine causes most cancers, and that e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes.

Conclusions:

E-cigarettes were used primarily by current smokers and recent former smokers. The main reasons for use center around perceptions that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes to users and others.

Implications:

This study reports detailed information about the prevalence, patterns of, and reasons for e-cigarette use in the first (baseline) wave of the PATH Study in 2014. In addition to conventional categories for current, former and never smoking and e-cigarette use, the PATH questionnaire facilitated classification of new usage groups consisting of current and former triers of these products, which may impact prevalence estimates.

PMID:
29986104
DOI:
10.1093/ntr/ntx194

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