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JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Feb 1;2(2):e187794. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7794.

Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Subsequent Initiation of Tobacco Cigarettes in US Youths.

Author information

1
Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
4
Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
5
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Abstract

Importance:

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other noncigarette tobacco products may increase the odds of cigarette initiation, even among low-risk youths.

Objective:

To evaluate the associations of prior e-cigarette use and other tobacco product use with subsequent cigarette initiation within 2 years of follow-up.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

In this prospective cohort study, data from waves 1 through 3 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (2013-2016) were used to assess youths aged 12 to 15 years who had never used cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or other tobacco products at wave 1. This was a nationally representative study of the US population. Data analysis was conducted in 2018.

Exposures:

First noncigarette tobacco product used (none, e-cigarette, or other tobacco product) between wave 1 and wave 3.

Main Outcomes and Measures:

Ever cigarette use and current cigarette use at wave 3.

Results:

In the sample (N = 6123), respondents were 49.5% female; 54.1% non-Hispanic, white; and the mean (SD) age was 13.4 (1.2) years. Of these, 8.6% reported e-cigarettes as their first tobacco product, while 5.0% reported using another noncigarette product first; 3.3% reported using cigarettes first. Cigarette use at wave 3 was higher among prior e-cigarette users (20.5%) compared with youths with no prior tobacco use (3.8%). Prior e-cigarette use was associated with more than 4 times the odds of ever cigarette use (odds ratio, 4.09; 95% CI, 2.97-5.63) and nearly 3 times the odds of current cigarette use (odds ratio, 2.75; 95% CI, 1.60-4.73) compared with no prior tobacco use. Prior use of other tobacco products was similarly associated with subsequent ever cigarette use (OR, 3.84; 95% CI, 2.63-5.63) and current cigarette use (OR, 3.43; 95% CI, 1.88-6.26) compared with no prior tobacco use. The association of prior e-cigarette use with cigarette initiation was stronger among low-risk youths (OR, 8.57; 95% CI, 3.87-18.97), a pattern not seen for prior other product use. Over the 2 years between 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and 2016, 21.8% of new cigarette ever use (178 850 youths) and 15.3% of current cigarette use (43 446 youths) among US youths aged 12 to 15 years may be attributable to prior e-cigarette use.

Conclusions and Relevance:

This study's findings support the notion that e-cigarette use is associated with increased risk for cigarette initiation and use, particularly among low-risk youths. At the population level, the use of e-cigarettes may be a contributor to the initiation of cigarette smoking among youths.

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