Electronic cigarettes in adults in outpatient substance use treatment: Awareness, perceptions, use, and reasons for use

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Abstract

Background and Objectives:

Most studies on e-cigarettes have come from population-based surveys. The current research aimed to provide initial data on e-cigarette awareness, perceptions, use, and reasons for use among adults seeking substance use treatment.

Methods:

A survey was conducted among 198 participants ≥18 years old in a community-based outpatient substance use treatment program.

Results:

Of the 198 participants, 69% currently smoked cigarettes, 92% were aware of e-cigarettes, and 58% had ever used e-cigarettes. The proportion of the number of participants who had ever used e-cigarettes to the number who currently smoked (89.7%) appeared higher than the corresponding proportion in the 2012–13 National Adult Tobacco Survey (78.3%). Almost half of the sample who reported ever using e-cigarettes endorsed quitting or reducing smoking as a reason for use, and 32% endorsed reasons for use relating to curiosity/experimentation. A greater likelihood of e-cigarette ever-use was significantly associated with younger age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.94, 95%confidence interval [CI] = 0.90, 0.98) and perceptions related to using e-cigarettes in public places where smoking cigarettes is not allowed (AOR = 2.96, 95%CI = 1.18, 7.42) but was not associated with primary drug of choice.

Discussion and Conclusions:

E-cigarette use in adults seeking substance use treatment appears higher than it is in the US general population of smokers. The high frequency of use may be due to curiosity/experimentation or attempts to quit or reduce smoking.

Scientific Significance:

Future research may consider how e-cigarettes interact with other substance use and affect high rates of nicotine and tobacco use in this population. (Am J Addict 2015;24:233–239)

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