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Addict Behav. 2018 Oct 29. pii: S0306-4603(18)31249-8. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.10.040. [Epub ahead of print]

E-cigarettes, alcohol use, and mental health: Use and perceptions of e-cigarettes among college students, by alcohol use and mental health status.

Author information

1
Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, United States; Veterans Health Administration Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), West Haven, CT, United States; Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Psychiatry, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Bethesda, MD, United States. Electronic address: kathryn.hefner@yale.edu.
2
University of New Haven, Department of Psychology, West Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address: asoll1@unh.newhaven.edu.
3
University of New Haven, Department of Criminal Justice, West Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address: smull1@unh.newhaven.edu.
4
University of New Haven, Department of Psychology, West Haven, CT, United States; University of New Haven, Department of Criminal Justice, West Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address: kcoker@newhaven.edu.
5
Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, CT, United States; Veterans Health Administration Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), West Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address: mehmet.sofuoglu@yale.edu.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are popular among college students, who display risky alcohol use patterns. However, little is known about patterns of co-use of e-cigarettes and alcohol. Further, relationships between e-cigarette use and mental illness among college students are unclear.

METHODS:

College student participants (N = 631) at a northeastern U.S. university were invited via email to participate in a survey about e-cigarettes and alcohol use. Mental health was self-reported diagnosis of psychiatric (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, anxiety disorder, personality disorder), and substance (alcohol and other drug) use disorders. Current use of e-cigarette, combustible cigarette, and other tobacco products were assessed via self-reported past 30-day use frequency. Alcohol consumption was assessed via number of self-reported standard alcoholic beverages consumed during a typical drinking episode. Participants also reported regarding co-use of alcohol, e-cigarettes and/or combustible cigarettes. Participants were categorized as non-drinkers, moderate drinkers or binge drinkers, and associations between e-cigarette use, drinking patterns and mental health diagnoses were examined.

RESULTS:

E-cigarette use was associated with drinking alcohol χ2 = 18.62, p < .001, and binge drinking (vs. moderate drinking) χ2 = 12.20, p < .001. Students who had tried e-cigarettes reported drinking more alcohol per episode (χ2 = 15.94, p < .001). E-cigarette use was more prevalent among those with psychiatric and substance use disorders χ2 = 11.65, p < .001.

CONCLUSIONS:

Drinking college students (especially binge drinkers) and those with mental illness may have heightened risks for e-cigarette use. More research is needed to elucidate relationships between risky alcohol and/or nicotine use and mental illness, and to guide appropriate prevention and intervention efforts for vulnerable college students.

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