Indexed on: 12 Aug '15Published on: 12 Aug '15Published in: Tobacco control
There is little evidence on the consequences of using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette) in adolescence. With a multiethnic sample of non-smokers, we assessed the relation between e-cigarette use and social-cognitive factors that predict smoking of combustible cigarettes.School-based cross-sectional survey of 2309 high school students (mean age 14.7 years). Participants reported on e-cigarette use and cigarette use; on smoking-related cognitions (smoking expectancies, prototypes of smokers) and peer smoker affiliations; and on willingness to smoke cigarettes. Regression analyses conducted for non-cigarette smokers tested the association between e-cigarette use and willingness to smoke cigarettes, controlling for demographics, parenting, academic and social competence, and personality variables. Structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis tested whether the relation between e-cigarette use and willingness to smoke was mediated through any of the three smoking-related variables.Non-smokers who had used e-cigarettes (18% of the total sample) showed more willingness to smoke cigarettes compared with those who had never used any tobacco product; the adjusted OR was 2.35 (95% CI 1.73 to 3.19). SEM showed that the relation between e-cigarette use and willingness to smoke was partly mediated through more positive expectancies about smoking, but there was also a direct path from e-cigarette use to willingness.Among adolescent non-smokers, e-cigarette use is associated with willingness to smoke, a predictor of future cigarette smoking. The results suggest that use of e-cigarettes by adolescents is not without attitudinal risk for cigarette smoking. These findings have implications for formulation of policy about access to e-cigarettes by adolescents.