E-Cigarette Flavors and Frequency of E-Cigarette Use among Adult Dual Users Who Attempt to Quit Cigarette Smoking in the United States: Longitudinal Findings from the PATH Study 2015/16-2016/17.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 04 20; 18(8)IJ
Potential mechanisms by which e-cigarette use may relate to combustible cigarette smoking cessation are not well-understood. We used U.S. nationally representative data to prospectively evaluate the relationship between e-cigarette flavor use and frequency of e-cigarette use among adult cigarette/e-cigarette dual users who attempted to quit smoking cigarettes. Analyses used Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study data from adult dual users (2015/16) who attempted to quit smoking between 2015/16 and 2016/17 (Wave 3-Wave 4, n = 685, including those who did/did not quit by 2016/17). E-cigarette flavor use (usual/last flavor, past 30-day flavor; assessed in 2015/16) was categorized into Only tobacco; Only menthol/mint; Only non-tobacco, non-menthol/mint; and Any combination of tobacco, menthol/mint, other flavor(s). The key outcome, evaluated at follow-up in 2016/17, was frequent e-cigarette use, which was defined as use on 20+ of past 30 days. Logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between e-cigarette flavor use in 2015/16 and frequent e-cigarette use at follow-up in 2016/17. Dual users who attempted to quit smoking had greater odds of frequent e-cigarette use at follow-up when they used only non-tobacco, non-menthol/mint flavor than when they used only tobacco flavor as their regular/last e-cigarette flavor (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.4); findings were no longer significant when adjusted for factors including e-cigarette device type (AOR = 1.4, 95% CI: 0.7-2.8). Past 30-day e-cigarette flavor use results were generally similar, although frequent e-cigarette use at follow-up was highest among those who used any combination of tobacco, menthol/mint, or other flavors. Findings indicate that e-cigarette flavor use among dual users who attempt to quit smoking may be related to e-cigarette use frequency overall, which may indicate a mechanism underlying findings for e-cigarette use and smoking cessation. Further longitudinal research may help to disentangle how e-cigarette characteristics uniquely impact e-cigarette use frequency and smoking cessation/sustained use.