ObjectiveThis research examined electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use by individuals in treatment for substance abuse, a population with a high prevalence of tobacco use and poor smoking cessation outcomes.
MethodsWe surveyed 1127 individuals from 24 substance abuse treatment centers across the United States. Bivariate analyses and logistic regression were used to examine factors associated with daily (N = 87) versus weekly (N = 81) e-cigarette use.
ResultsAmong the full sample, 59.8% reported any lifetime use of e-cigarettes, with 23.6% reporting past 30-day use. Daily e-cigarette users were more likely to have used second-generation, tank-type e-cigarettes, χ2(1,N = 165) = 11.54, p = .001, used more flavors overall, t(168) = 2.15, p = .03, and were more likely to report using their e-cigarette continuously throughout the day, χ2(4,N = 168) = 16.7, p = .002, compared to weekly e-cigarette users. Over half (57.7%) of the daily and weekly e-cigarette users reported having an e-cigarette device that broke. The logistic regression model adjusting for clinic type and days with poor mental health found that daily e-cigarette users were significantly more likely than weekly e-cigarette users to be from methadone clinics (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.40, p = .04), and former smokers (AOR = 6.37, p < .002).
ConclusionsDaily e-cigarette users in substance abuse treatment were more likely to be from methadone clinics and former cigarette smokers. However, the majority (73.6%) of daily e-cigarette users were current cigarette smokers. E-cigarette device type reliability (eg, breakage) may be an important factor to consider among drug treatment and other populations with lower socioeconomic status.
ImplicationsThis study found several differences in the device type, flavors, and use characteristics of daily versus weekly e-cigarette users. While majority of e-cigarette users in substance abuse treatment were current cigarette smokers, daily e-cigarette users were more likely to be former cigarette smokers. Administrators of substance abuse treatment programs should evaluate potential benefits and harms of e-cigarettes when developing program policies.