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College educated more likely to use e-cigs to quit cigarette smoking

September 07, 2016

Users of both electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and cigarettes may be more intent on quitting tobacco, but that intention seems to drop off among less educated smokers, according to a study by Georgia State University researchers published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Through a survey of more than 1,200 smokers, researchers found those who did not have college degrees were less likely to use ENDS in addition to smoking regular cigarettes. But smokers who did use ENDS, such as e-cigarettes, were more likely to have attempted to quit in the past year, according to the survey data.

"Among dual users, having a college degree was associated with high intention to quit smoking and attempting to quit in the past year," said Michael Eriksen, professor and dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State and an author of the study. "This study highlights patterns in ENDS use that may increase the socioeconomic gap in smoking prevalence."

The study used data from the 2014 Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Survey, which was conducted by the school's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS). The data also illustrate lower dual END and regular cigarette use among racial minorities.

"We found that current smokers used ENDS with an intention to quit smoking cigarettes or reduce the use of combustible cigarettes," Eriksen said. "If ENDS use proves to be helpful for smoking cessation among long-term smokers, then interventions to improve access to ENDS among minority smokers and those with low levels of education may be needed."

The study's authors are TCORS postdoctoral research associate Dr. Pratibha Nayak; Dr. Terry Pechacek, professor of health management and policy; Dr. Scott Weaver, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics; and Eriksen.
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Georgia State University

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