Titled, “Dependence on e-cigarettes and cigarettes in a cross-sectional study of US adults,” the study analysed cross-sectional data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study from 2013-2016. Psychometrically-assessed dependence was compared for smokers and vapers among current, former and dual users of both products and among e-cigarette users who had, and had not, recently quit smoking.

“No doubt about it, e-cigarettes are addictive, but not at the same level as traditional cigarettes.”
The researchers found that contrary to media reports, dependence on e-cigarettes appears to be consistently lower than that on regular cigarettes. “Among current users, dependence on e-cigarettes was significantly lower than dependence on cigarettes, in within-subjects comparisons among dual users of both e-cigarettes and cigarettes (1.58 [SE=0.05] vs. 2.76 [0.04]), p<0.0001), and in separate groups of e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers (1.95 [0.05] vs. 2.52 [0.02], p<0.0001), and among both daily and non-daily users of each product.”

Additionally, said the researchers, residual symptoms of addiction were also lower for vapers than for smokers. “Among former users, residual symptoms were significantly lower for e-cigarettes than cigarettes, both among former dual users (1.23 [0.07] vs. 1.41 [0.06], p<0.001) and among users of one product (1.28 [0.03] vs. 1.53 [0.03], p<0.0001). The highest level of e-cigarette dependence was among e-cigarette users who had stopped smoking (2.17 [0.08]).”

Similar findings

In line with these findings, a 2017 study looking at the same PATH data, had derived similar conclusions. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Center for Tobacco Products, the researchers had filtered the responses of 3,586 participants responses who were regular smokers and/or vapers.

The study’s lead author, Guodong Liu, an assistant professor of public health sciences, said that the findings had clearly indicated that vapers are not as addicted to their products as smokers. “No doubt about it, e-cigarettes are addictive, but not at the same level as traditional cigarettes,” said Liu at the time.

US study: Majority of smokers are unhappy about their addiction

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.