E-cigarette and dual product use as an emerging health threat to the US military

Case H Keltner, Tzu-Cheg Kao, Anwar Ahmed, James D Mancuso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Cigarette and e-cigarette use are threats to the health and readiness of the US military. The study objective was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with e-cigarette, cigarette, and dual use among active duty service members (SMs).

METHODS: We used data from the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey-a crosssectional survey weighted to represent the US military (n=16699). Weighted prevalence and odds ratios assessed associations between risk factors and e-cigarette/cigarette use via weighted multinomial logistic models.

RESULTS: The prevalence of cigarette use in the US military declined from 24% in 2011 to 13.8% in 2015. However, e-cigarette use (12.4%) and dual product use (4.7%) increased during this period. Additionally, prevalence of e-cigarette use was higher in the military compared to the general population (12.4% vs 3.5%), particularly among those aged 17-24 years (22.8% vs 5.2%); cigarette use was also higher in the military in this age group (19.3% vs 13.0%). After adjustment, SMs who were enlisted, lacked a Bachelor's degree, and/or had probable alcohol use disorder had significantly greater odds of cigarette, e-cigarette, and dual use. While SMs aged 17-24 years had the highest prevalence of all types of product use, only being aged ≥45 years was significantly associated with decreased odds of product use in adjusted models.

CONCLUSIONS: Military efforts to control cigarette use among SMs seem to have been successful, as demonstrated by the dramatic declines in its use and the lower prevalence seen in the military compared to the general population. However, the concurrent increases in e-cigarette use are concerning, particularly among the youngest members of the military. The US military must continue to monitor emerging trends in e-cigarette, cigarette, and dual use and rapidly take steps to address them as threats to health and readiness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43
JournalTobacco Prevention and Cessation
StatePublished - 2021


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