The purpose of this study was to examine e-cigarette use and the relation of such use with gender, race/ethnicity, traditional tobacco use, and heavy drinking. A sample of 599 college students enrolled in General Psychology at a state university completed a self-report questionnaire. Twenty-nine percent of students reported prior use of e-cigarettes, with 14% reporting use in the past 30 days. E-cigarette use was linked to male gender but not to race/ethnicity. Dual use (i.e., concurrent use of both traditional and e-cigarettes) was related to heavier use of traditional and e-cigarettes, and nicotine use was linked to pronounced rates of heavy drinking.
The authors write: “The current findings suggest that e-cigarettes may represent another “tool in the tool chest” among college students with a proclivity to use (and misuse) psychoactive substances.”
Of most concern is the link between e-cigarette use and heavy drinking. “Although smoke-free legislation has led to several public health benefits, the increasing popularity and presence of e-cigarettes may allow college students to circumvent these bans and more readily co-use alcohol and nicotine. Several lines of evidence suggest that nicotine use (a) enhances the reinforcing effects of alcohol use, especially among men; (b) increases the duration of a drinking episode; and (c) leads to higher levels of cravings for both alcohol and cigarettes when co-used with alcohol. Further, alcohol and tobacco use disorders are prospectively linked in college students.”
The results showed that e-cigarette use among college students is exponentially on the rise, and its co-use with alcohol may contribute to negative outcomes in this population.
Source: Taylor & Francis
Full bibliographic information:
"Electronic Cigarette Use Among College Students: Links to Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Smoking, and Heavy Drinking"
Andrew K. Littlefield PhD, Joshua C. Gottlieb MA, Lee M. Cohen PhD & David R. M. Trotter PhD
Journal of American College Health, Volume 63, Issue 8, 2015