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E-cigarette Dependence Measures in Dual Users: Reliability and Relations With Dependence Criteria and E-cigarette Cessation.

  • Author(s): Piper, Megan E;
  • Baker, Timothy B;
  • Benowitz, Neal L;
  • Smith, Stevens S;
  • Jorenby, Douglas E
  • et al.

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Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 4.0 license


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have drastically changed the nicotine and tobacco product landscape. However, their potential public health impact is still unclear. A reliable and valid measure of e-cigarette dependence would likely advance assessment and prognostication of the public health impact of e-cigarettes. The aim of this research was to examine the internal consistency, structure, and validity of three e-cigarette dependence scales.


Adult dual users (smokers who also vape, N = 256) enrolled in an observational cohort study (45.1% women, 70.7% white). At baseline, participants completed the e-cigarette Fagerström Test of Cigarette Dependence (e-FTCD), the e-cigarette Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (e-WISDM), and the Penn State Electronic Cigarette Dependence Index (PS-ECDI). All participants provided a urine sample for cotinine analysis and reported e-cigarette use at 1 year.


The e-WISDM subscales had the highest internal consistency (α = .81-.96), then the PS-ECDI (α = .74) and e-FTCD (α = .51). A single-factor structure for the e-FTCD and an 11-factor structure for the e-WISDM were supported, but the PS-ECDI did not have a single-factor structure. All three e-cigarette dependence scales were highly correlated with validation criteria including continued e-cigarette use at 1 year, but not with e-liquid nicotine concentration or cotinine.


The e-WISDM and PS-ECDI had stronger internal consistency than did the e-FTCD, despite the e-FTCD's single-factor structure, but all 3 measures appear to be valid measures of e-cigarette dependence as suggested by their significant relations with self-perceived addiction, heavy use, early use after overnight deprivation, and continued use over time.


This research provides empirical support for three e-cigarette dependence measures: the e-FTCD, the PS-ECDI, and the e-WISDM among dual users of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes. The PS-ECDI and e-WISDM are more reliable, but all three measures were strongly correlated with key dependence constructs such as heavy use and continued use over time.

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