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Disposable E-Cigarette Use and Subsequent Use Patterns in Adolescents and Young Adults

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Disposable electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are widely used by abstract adolescents and young adults (AYAs). Whether using disposable devices is associated with future e-cigarette use patterns is unknown but important for informing e-cigarette regulation.

METHODS: Prospective longitudinal study combining data from adolescent (14–17 years) and young adult (21–24 years) cohorts from Southern California surveyed at baseline and approximately 8-month follow-up during 2021 to 2022. The analyses included AYAs who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days at baseline and had exposure and outcome data (N 5 403; adolescent n 5 124, young adult n 5 279).

RESULTS: In the pooled sample of AYAs who used e-cigarettes at baseline (57.2% cis-gender female, 56.2% Hispanic), 278 (69.0%) reported past 30-day disposable e-cigarette use, and 125 (31.0%) used only non disposable e-cigarettes. Baseline use of disposable (versus only non disposable) devices was associated with higher odds of continued e-cigarette use (adjusted odds ratio 5 1.92; 95% confidence interval 5 1.09–3.42) and a greater number of times used e-cigarettes per day at follow-up (adjusted incidence rate ratio 5 1.29; 95% confidence interval 5 1.02–1.63). In supplemental analyses, disposable e-cigarette use was associated with greater odds of no changes (versus reductions) in e-cigarette use frequency and puffs per episode from baseline to follow-up but was not associated with increases in use frequency and intensity. No differences in e-cigarette use outcomes were found between those with poly-device (disposable and non disposable) versus only disposable device use.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of disposable e-cigarette devices among AYAs may be associated with higher risks for persistent e-cigarette use patterns, which should be considered in tobacco product regulation designed to protect AYAs.

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