Electronic cigarettes (“e-cigs”) have recently gained in popularity, but their health risks, including dependence potential are unclear. This study analyzed the adult database from the Wave 1 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a nationally representative survey of tobacco use in the United States, to assess the relative level of dependence among adult, exclusive everyday users of e-cigarettes and cigarettes. Of the total 32,320 observations from the Wave 1 PATH adult database, 3586 (5.9%, weighted) were eligible for our analysis population. Among those who met the eligibility criteria, 156 (4.6%) were exclusive e-cig users, and 3430 (95.4%) were exclusive cigarette smokers. Our results show that e-cig users reported a significantly longer time-to-first-use of the day after waking (measured in minutes) compared to cigarette smokers after adjusting for confounders (adjusted geometric mean [95% confidence limits (CL)]: 29.2 [24.4–34.9] vs. 20.0 [18.7, 21.5]). In addition, cigarette smokers were significantly more likely to consider themselves addicted (Adj. Odds Ratio [95% CL]: 6.9 [4.5–10.7]); have strong cravings (2.9 [1.9–4.2]); find it difficult in the past 12 months to refrain from using their product in places where it was prohibited (6.4 [2.9–14.3]); and feel like they really needed to use their product (3.9 [2.4–6.4]). These results are consistent with previous studies, in finding that exclusive daily e-cigarette users are less dependent on their respective product than comparable cigarette smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-91
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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