Assessment of Patterns in e-Cigarette Use Among Adults in the US, 2017-2020

ARTICLE: Assessment of Patterns in e-Cigarette Use Among Adults in the US, 2017-2020

AUTHORS: Ellen Boakye, Ngozi Osuji, John Erhabor, Olufunmilayo Obisesan, Albert D Osei, Mohammadhassan Mirbolouk, Andrew C Stokes, Omar Dzaye, Omar El Shahawy, Glenn A Hirsch, Emelia J Benjamin, Andrew P DeFilippis, Rose Marie Robertson, Aruni Bhatnagar, Michael J Blaha

JOURNAL: JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Jul 1;5(7):e2223266. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.23266.

Abstract

Importance: Updated data on the patterns of e-cigarette use among adults in the US are needed.

Objective: To examine recent patterns in current and daily e-cigarette use among US adults.

Design, setting, and participants: This repeated cross-sectional study used data from the 2017, 2018, and 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative state-based survey of noninstitutionalized US adults. A total of 994 307 adults 18 years and older who were living in states and territories that provided data on e-cigarette use in 2017 (53 states and territories), 2018 (36 states and Guam), and 2020 (42 states and Guam) were included.

Main outcomes and measures: The weighted prevalence of current (past 30 days) and daily e-cigarette use was estimated for each year, and changes in prevalence from 2017 to 2020 were assessed, first overall and then stratified by participant characteristics, including state or territory of residence.

Results: Among 994 307 adults from states with data on e-cigarette use, 429 370 individuals (weighted 51.3% female) were participants in the 2017 survey, 280 184 (weighted 52.1% female) were participants in the 2018 survey, and 284 753 (weighted 52.1% female) were participants in the 2020 survey. The weighted proportions of young adults aged 18 to 24 years were 12.6% in 2017, 11.8% in 2018, and 11.9% in 2020. Across all 3 years, 17 035 participants (weighted, 1.0%) were American Indian or Alaska Native, 22 313 (weighted, 4.6%) were Asian, 75 780 (weighted, 12.2%) were Black, 72 190 (weighted, 15.1%) were Hispanic, 4817 (weighted, 0.2%) were Native Hawaiian, 757 140 (weighted, 65.1%) were White, 20 332 (weighted, 1.3%) were multiracial, and 6245 (weighted, 0.5%) were of other races and/or ethnicities. The prevalence of current e-cigarette use was 4.4% (95% CI, 4.3%-4.5%) in 2017, which increased to 5.5% (95% CI, 5.4%-5.7%) in 2018 and decreased slightly to 5.1% (95% CI, 4.9%-5.3%) in 2020. The recent decrease, though modest, was observed mainly among young adults aged 18 to 20 years (from 18.9% [95% CI, 17.2%-20.7%] to 15.6% [95% CI, 14.1%-17.1%]; P = .004). However, the prevalence of daily e-cigarette use increased consistently from 1.5% (95% CI, 1.4%-1.6%) in 2017 to 2.1% (95% CI, 2.0%-2.2%) in 2018 and 2.3% (95% CI, 2.2%-2.4%) in 2020. Among young adults aged 21 to 24 years, there was a slight, albeit insignificant, increase in the prevalence of current e-cigarette use (from 13.5% [95% CI, 12.3%-14.7%] to 14.5% [95% CI, 13.2%-15.9%]; P = .28) but a significant increase in the prevalence of daily e-cigarette use (from 4.4% [95% CI, 3.8%-5.1%] to 6.6% [95% CI, 5.6%-7.6%]; P < .001) between 2018 and 2020. State-level patterns in the prevalence of current e-cigarette use were heterogeneous, with states like Massachusetts (from 5.6% [95% CI, 4.8%-6.5%] to 4.1% [95% CI, 3.1%-5.3%]; P = .03) and New York (from 5.4% [95% CI, 4.9%-5.9%] to 4.1% [95% CI, 3.5%-4.7%]; P = .001) recording significant decreases between 2018 and 2020. In contrast, Guam (from 5.9% [95% CI, 4.5%-7.9%] to 11.4% [95% CI, 8.7%-14.8%]; P = .002) and Utah (from 6.1% [95% CI, 5.5%-6.7%] to 7.2% [95% CI, 6.5%-8.0%]; P = .02) recorded significant increases in current e-cigarette use over the same period.

Conclusions and relevance: In this study, a slight decrease in the prevalence of current e-cigarette use was found between 2018 and 2020; this decrease was mainly observed among young adults aged 18 to 20 years. In contrast, daily e-cigarette use consistently increased, particularly among young adults aged 21 to 24 years. This increase in daily use suggests greater nicotine dependence among those who use e-cigarettes, warranting continued surveillance.

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