Estimated 10.8 Million American Adult Vapers in 2016

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Lindsey Stroud

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AVA Synopsis:


The study’s authors used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Surveys “to report the prevalence and distribution of current e-cigarette us among U.S. adults in 2016.”

The authors found that 4.5 percent of US adults reported current e-cigarette use in 2016, which amounted to 10.8 million adult e-cigarette users. Only 15 percent of e-cigarette users, or 1.6 million adults, were never-smokers. The authors also report that “prevalence of e-cigarette use was high among men; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) person; current combustible cigarette smokers; and those with chronic health conditions.” E-cigarette use varied among states, “with estimates ranging from 3.1% in South Dakota to 7.0% in Oklahoma.”

Implications:


The findings are significant, as they estimate that there were 10.8 million adult e-cigarette users in the United States in 2016. Further, the results indicate that adult e-cigarette use was associated with former combustible cigarette use. This study provides further evidence to the potential of e-cigarettes and vapor products as useful devices that help smokers quit.

Abstract:


Background: Contemporary data on the prevalence of e-cigarette use in the United States are limited.

Objective: To report the prevalence and distribution of current e-cigarette use among U.S. adults in 2016.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.

Participants: Adults aged 18 years and older.

Measurements: Prevalence of current e-cigarette use by sociodemographic groups, comorbid medical conditions, and states of residence.

Results: Of participants with information on e-cigarette use (n = 466 842), 15 240 were current e-cigarette users, representing a prevalence of 4.5%, which corresponds to 10.8 million adult e-cigarette users in the United States. Of the e-cigarette users, 15% were never–cigarette smokers. The prevalence of current e-cigarette use was highest among persons aged 18 to 24 years (9.2% [95% CI, 8.6% to 9.8%]), translating to approximately 2.8 million users in this age range. More than half the current e-cigarette users (51.2%) were younger than 35 years. In addition, the age-standardized prevalence of e-cigarette use was high among men; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; current combustible cigarette smokers; and those with chronic health conditions. The prevalence of e-cigarette use varied widely among states, with estimates ranging from 3.1% (CI, 2.3% to 4.1%) in South Dakota to 7.0% (CI, 6.0% to 8.2%) in Oklahoma.

Limitation: Data were self-reported, and no biochemical confirmation of tobacco use was available.

Conclusion: E-cigarette use is common, especially in younger adults, LGBT persons, current cigarette smokers, and persons with comorbid conditions. The prevalence of use differs across states. These contemporary estimates may inform researchers, health care policymakers, and tobacco regulators about demographic and geographic distributions of e-cigarette use.

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