Electronic Cigarettes: Their Role in the Lives of College Students
BACKGROUND: Electronic cigarettes have increased in popularity amongst college-aged adults. Although often advertised as smoking cessation tools, students have taken to them as their primary exposure to nicotine. For many reasons, e-cigarettes are extremely convenient and have become the most common tobacco products among this generation. OBJECTIVE: To assess perceptions and reasons for e-cigarette use in college students. METHODS: A 20 question online Qualtrics survey was distributed to college students aged 18 and above across the United States. All responses were anonymous and data were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative inferential and descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Of those who used e-cigarettes, 67.7% are not likely to smoke when they are upset or sad, 56.8% disagree that stress is a factor, and 83.5% cited that alcohol was involved when smoking. Most respondents, 74% (n = 467), associated smoking with emotions of happiness, joy or peace. 43.7% who associated e-cigarettes with happiness or peace were more likely to agree that stress was an influence versus 26.5% for those who did not (p = 0.004). CONCLUSION: Results show a high prevalence of e-cigarette usage among college-aged students. Emotional pleasurable connections with e-cigarettes, similar to traditional cigarettes, play a role in their use. This information will allow healthcare professionals to tailor educational messages surrounding cessation.