The Prevalence of E-cigarette Use in a Sample of U.S. Air Force Recruits

Melissa A. Little, Karen J. Derefinko, Lauren Colvin, Jon O. Ebbert, Zoran Bursac, Gerald W. Talcott, Phyllis A. Richey, Robert C. Klesges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction The prevalence of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is increasing markedly in the general population. Yet, remarkably little research exists to examine these ongoing trends in at-risk populations, and nothing is known about the prevalence of e-cigarette use among military personnel. The purpose of the current study is to provide recent (2013-2014) data on the prevalence of regular e-cigarette use in a population of recruits prior to their entry into the U.S. military. Methods The study utilized a cross-sectional assessment of e-cigarette and other tobacco and nicotine-containing product (TNCP) use in 2013-2014 among 10,043 U.S. Air Force (USAF) recruits in Technical Training. Chi-square tests, the Cochran-Armitage test for trend, and logistic regression models tested differences and trends across time for e-cigarette use. Results The rate of e-cigarette use among recruits was 5.2%, which doubled (3% to 6.5%, p<0.0001) across a 1-year period. E-cigarette use was associated with increased odds of all measured TNCPs, as well as dual and poly use (all p<0.0001). Conclusions Rates of e-cigarette use are slightly higher in young USAF recruits than in the general population, and e-cigarette users are likely to be using other TNCPs in tandem. Although additional work is needed to understand the reasons for this concomitant use, this is a necessary first step to understanding e-cigarette use prevalence in military populations. Historic trends suggest that, like general populations, e-cigarette use is on the rise for those entering the USAF and should be monitored to inform future prevention programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4362
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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