A US study analyzed the socioeconomic differences in current regular smoking and e-cigarette use in a sample of 50,306 participants, across 3 cross-sectional surveys.
The study titled Socioeconomic Disparities in Electronic Cigarette Use and Transitions from Smoking was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research last June. The researchers analyzed ever-smokers to test differences in transitions from smoking to exclusive e-cigarette use, as well as differences in product use by mental health score, level of education and income.
Dual use was significantly less likely in those with a college education and a higher income.
The researchers found that college education and income were not significantly associated with exclusive e-cigarette use. However, in ever smokers, the transition to exclusive e-cigarette use was significantly associated with college education, but not with higher income or poor mental health.
Additionally, dual-use was significantly less likely in those with a college education and a higher income. On the other hand, poor mental health was associated with a higher likelihood of both exclusive smoking and dual-use but was not significantly associated with exclusive e-cigarette use.
The importance of educating disadvantaged communities
The researchers concluded that educated smokers are more likely to switch to exclusive e-cigarette use than less educated smokers. “Such differential switching may exacerbate socioeconomic disparities in smoking-related morbidity and mortality, but lower the burden of tobacco-related disease.” This indicates that it is of the utmost importance that information about harm reduction alternatives, is made especially available to disadvantaged communities.