Young adults report increased pleasure from using e-cigarettes and smoking tobacco cigarettes when drinking alcohol Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Cigarettes share a high rate of co-use with alcohol, particularly among young adults. Studies have demonstrated greater perceived pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol. However, little is known about co-use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and alcohol. The current study sought to compare extent of use and perceived pleasure from cigarettes and e-cigs when drinking alcohol. METHODS:Young adult bar patrons in California cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) were recruited in 2015-16 using randomized time-location sampling. Participants completed cross-sectional surveys in bars, reporting the percent of cigarette smoking/e-cig use that occurred under the influence of alcohol, and reported if pleasure from smoking cigarettes/using e-cigs changed when drinking alcohol. Analyses are limited to participants reporting current (past 30-day) use of cigarettes, e-cigs, and alcohol (N = 269; M age = 24.1; 40.1% female, 36.1% Non-Hispanic White). RESULTS:Participants reported a greater percentage of cigarette smoking compared to e-cig use under the influence of alcohol (cigarettes M = 63.6%; e-cigs M = 46.7%; p < .001). Participants also reported increased pleasure both from smoking cigarettes (M = 3.9; [compared to midpoint of scale 3 - "no change"] p < .001) and using e-cigs (M = 3.3; p < .001) when drinking alcohol. The increase in pleasure was more pronounced for cigarettes compared to e-cigs (p < .001). CONCLUSIONS:Drinking alcohol is associated with increases in perceived rewarding effects of both cigarettes and e-cigs and thus may increase their abuse liability. This effect may be stronger for cigarettes, which could be an important barrier to switching completely from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigs, or quitting both entirely.


publication date

  • June 2019