Is e-cigarette use associated with better health and functioning among smokers approaching midlife?

Publication Year: 2022
Authors: Kosterman, Rick, Epstein, Marina, Bailey, Jennifer A., & Hawkins, J. David.
Publication Title: Drug & Alcohol Dependence
Volume: 234
Page(s): 109395
Link to Publication:
Abstract: Introduction: Many adult smokers have tried electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as a less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes. There is limited evidence, however, for the extent to which switching to e-cigarettes is associated with better health and functioning among nicotine users approaching their 40s—the beginning of midlife—when many health issues become more evident. This study examined the adoption of e-cigarette use (“vaping”) among smokers in their 30s, and its association with diverse measures of healthy and successful aging at age 39. Methods: Data were from the Seattle Social Development Project, a panel study of 808 diverse participants with high retention (88%-91%). A subsample of 156 who used combustible cigarettes (smoked) at age 30 and smoked or vaped at age 39 was selected for analysis. A measure of vaping frequency, relative to combustible cigarette use, was computed from self-reports of past-month vaping and smoking at age 39. Nine measures of health and functioning in the past year were computed at age 39, with nine corresponding measures at age 30. Results: Among smokers at age 30, 36% adopted vaping some or all of the time by age 39. Higher relative vaping frequency was related to 4 of 9 outcomes examined, including significantly more exercise, more constructive engagement, better physical health, and higher SES at age 39, accounting for prior behaviors at age 30. Conclusions: Findings suggest that, among smokers in their 30s, replacing combustible cigarettes with vaping may be associated with key markers of healthy and successful aging to age 39.