Temporal Trends in E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016 to 2018



      It is important to study the trends of e-cigarette use among various subgroups to understand which populations may be more susceptible to increased use and, therefore, are at risk for potential long-term health effects.


      We used cross-sectional data from the 2016-2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative U.S. telephone-based survey of adults aged 18 years or older. The 2017 dataset also includes data from participant interviews that had been conducted in the year 2018. Current e-cigarette use was defined as use of e-cigarettes every day or on some days. We analyzed data using survey weights to ensure representativeness of the data to the US population.


      The study population consisted of 936,319 individuals, of whom 28,917 were current e-cigarette users, and corresponded to 10.8 million U.S. adults. Thirty percent were aged between 18 and 34 years. Forty-nine percent were men; 63% were white, 12% black, and 17% Hispanic. The overall prevalence of current e-cigarette use increased from 4.3% in 2016 to 4.8% in 2018. E-cigarette use significantly increased among middle-aged adults (from 3.9% to 5.2%; P = .004), women (from 3.3% to 4.3%; P <.001), and former smokers (from 5.2% to 7.9%; P = .02), but decreased among current smokers (from 14.5% to 13.8%; P = .02).


      In a nationally representative sample, we found important trends in e-cigarette use in a relatively short time frame. A significantly increasing prevalence of e-cigarette use was noted among middle-age adults, women, and former smokers. Our study provides important information about e-cigarette trends that can be used by clinicians when counselling patients and by regulatory agencies to develop public policies.


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