Nicotine dependence is not a significant mechanism for e-cigarettes’ purported effect on heavier future conventional smoking among young adults, a recent study found. However, nicotine dependence may be a mechanism for increases in e-cigarette use among heavier conventional smokers, consistent with e-cigarettes as a smoking reduction tool. Data from 4 annual waves of a prospective cohort study were analyzed. A total of 1,007 young adult smokers and non-smokers (ages 19–23 years) participated in the study. Frequency of (1) cigarettes and (2) e-cigarettes was the number of days in the past 30 on which the product was used. Researchers found:
- E-cigarette use was not associated significantly with later conventional smoking, either directly or through nicotine dependence.
- Conventional smoking was associated positively with later e-cigarette use, both directly and through nicotine dependence.
- The strongest predictor of each product's use was prior use of the same product; this pathway was strong for conventional cigarettes but weak for e-cigarettes.
- Nicotine dependence moderately strongly predicted later conventional smoking, but was a weak predictor of later e-cigarette use.
Selya AS, Rose JS, Dierker L, Hedeker D, Mermelstein RJ. Evaluating the mutual pathways among electronic cigarette use, conventional smoking and nicotine dependence. [Published online ahead of print September 25, 2017]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.14013.
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