Electronic Cigarette Prevalence, Distribution in US Adults

E cigarette smoke
E cigarette smoke
Increased prevalence of electronic cigarette use in younger adults, LGBT individuals, and combustible cigarette smokers.

HealthDay News — The prevalence of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among U.S. adults is 4.5 percent, with higher prevalence among those aged 18 to 24 years, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mohammadhassan Mirbolouk, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues reported the prevalence and distribution of current e-cigarette use among U.S. adults in 2016 using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The researchers found that 15,240 of the 466,842 participants with information on e-cigarette use were current e-cigarette smokers, a prevalence of 4.5 percent, which corresponds to 10.8 million adult users in the United States.

Fifteen percent of e-cigarette users were never-cigarette smokers. The highest prevalence of current e-cigarette use was seen among those aged 18 to 24 years (9.2 percent), corresponding to 2.8 million users in this age range. 

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Overall, 51.2 percent of current e-cigarette users were younger than 35 years. Men; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals; current combustible cigarette smokers; and those with chronic health conditions had high age-standardized prevalence of e-cigarette use. Among states there was wide variation in the prevalence of e-cigarette use, ranging from 3.1 to 7 percent in South Dakota and Oklahoma, respectively.

“These contemporary estimates may inform researchers, health care policymakers, and tobacco regulators about demographic and geographic distributions of e-cigarette use,” the authors write.

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