E-cigarette use of young adults motivations and associations with combustible cigarette alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs

Jeff R. Temple, Ryan C. Shorey, Yu Lu, Elizabeth Torres, Gregory L. Stuart, Vi D. Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Although the prevalence of e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults has caught up to or eclipsed that of combustible cigarette use, there is relatively little known about (a) the link between e-cigarettes and other substances and (b) the reasons underlying this increase in e-cigarette use. To address this gap in knowledge, the current study examined associations between e-cigarette use and other substances and identified motives for e-cigarette use among young adults. Methods: Participants included an ethnically diverse sample of African American, White, and Hispanic young adults (N = 662; 61% female) who were participating in an ongoing survey-based longitudinal study of health and risky behaviors. Results: Hispanic, White, and male young adults reported significantly greater past year e-cigarette use compared to their African American and female counterparts. Bivariate correlations showed that use of e-cigarettes was positively associated with use of combustible cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, inhalants, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and misuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Furthermore, e-cigarette users reported a higher prevalence of substance use relative to those who did not use e-cigarettes. The taste of e-cigarettes was identified as an important motive for use. Conclusions and Significance: Although the potential harm associated with e-cigarettes remains largely unknown, e-cigarettes appear to be a risk marker for the use of substances that are known to pose substantial health problems. Health care providers should screen for e-cigarette use, and youth substance use prevention programs should target the reduction of e-cigarette use with particular attention to addressing their taste appeal. (Am J Addict 2017;26:343–348).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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