2019 Volume 29 Issue 4 Pages 155-163
Background: The different profiles of e-cigarette users in different age groups have seldom been investigated, particularly in populations facing a high prevalence of cigarette smoking. This study aims to examine the prevalence and correlates of e-cigarette use separately for adolescents and adults in nationally representative samples in Taiwan.
Methods: Among 17,837 participants in the 2014 National Survey of Substance Use in Taiwan, 4445 were aged 12 to 17 years and 13,392 were aged 18 to 64 years. Individuals’ lifetime tobacco use was divided into four groups: non-use, exclusive e-cigarette use, exclusive cigarette use, and dual use. Questions on sociodemographic features, use and problematic use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, and psychosocial distress, among others, were administered using a computer-assisted self-interview on tablet computers.
Results: Among lifetime users of e-cigarette (2.2% for adults and 0.8% for adolescents), 4.5% for adults and 36.6% for adolescents were exclusive e-cigarette users. From use of exclusive e-cigarettes to use of exclusive cigarettes to dual use, those usage groups were related to an increasing trend of adjusted odds ratios for use of other psychoactive substances, particularly problematic use of alcohol or drugs, and with more depressive symptoms. Two correlates were specific to e-cigarette use: alcohol use had stronger relationships with e-cigarette use among adolescents, and younger adults (18–34) were more likely to try e-cigarettes compared to older adults.
Conclusions: These results provide essential information regarding e-cigarette use in the general population, and future prevention strategies should account for its specific correlates in young people.