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

Mahmoud Al Rifai, Anwar T. Merchant, Vijay Nambi, Xiaoming Jia, Martha Gulati, Javier Valero-Elizondo, Khurram Nasir, Christie M. Ballantyne, Salim S. Virani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e508-e511
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Temporal trends


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