This study examined electronic cigarette usage among young adults with a history of cancer, comparing the data to young adults without a history of cancer via the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey.
Young adults with a history of cancer were more likely to report using electronic cigarettes than young adults who did not have a history of cancer, according to a recent report published in JAMA Oncology.
Even more, across almost all demographic groups analyzed, respondents with a history of cancer reported higher rates of electronic cigarette usage than respondents without a history of cancer.
“Almost half of young adult cancer survivors indicated they had ever used e-cigarettes and, among these, more than one-quarter indicated they were currently using e-cigarettes,” wrote the researchers. “Further, we identified higher rates of use among young adults with a history of cancer relative to their peers without cancer.”
The researchers also found statistically significant evidence that young adults with a history of cancer were more likely to remain electronic cigarette users than their peer counterparts (total with cancer history, 658, current use, 173 [31.3%] vs total with no cancer history, 20470, current use, 5187 [26.9%]; P= .19; adjusted odds ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.00-2.04; P= .05).
The researchers utilized the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, which is an annual survey conducted over the phone asking about health behaviors, long-term disease, and other related health topics. A total of 54,931 individuals aged 18-39 participated in the 2018 survey with nonmissing data regarding cancer history and electronic cigarette use. Of that population, a total of 1444 (2.1%) individuals reported a history of cancer.
The researchers evaluated the current and past use of electronic cigarettes by asking the questions: “Have you ever used an e-cigarette or other electronic vaping product, even just one time, in your entire life?” and, “Do you now use e-cigarettes or other electronic vaping products every day, some days, or not at all?”
“Similar to previously reported US trends in e-cigarette use, we found that any use and current use of e-cigarettes were highest among men, non-Hispanic white participants, and younger adults with a history of cancer,” wrote the researchers.
While previous research has examined electronic cigarette usage among young adults with a history of cancer, studies have not examined this population against young adults without a history of cancer. With the increasing risk electronic cigarette usage poses for this population, the researchers hope to their data can help guide future treatment and efforts to reduce electronic cigarette usage.
Some limitations of the study center on the use of only self-reported data to draw their conclusions. More, the small overall proportion of young adult cancer survivors was limiting, as well as possible response bias underestimation electronic cigarette use.
“We found disproportionally higher rates of vaping among young adult cancer survivors across nearly all demographic subgroups,” wrote the researchers. “These results suggest that current efforts to reduce vaping may benefit from targeted interventions among young adult cancer survivors.”
Parsons HM, Jewett PI, Sadak K, et al. e-Cigarette Use Among Young Adult Cancer Survivors Relative to the US Population. JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0384.