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Electronic cigarette use among Korean adolescents: a cross-sectional study of market penetration, dual use, and relationship to quit attempts and former smoking

1/6/2014 - The Journal of adolescent health

PURPOSE: As elsewhere, in South Korea electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are marketed, in part, as a smoking cessation aid. We assessed the prevalence of e-cigarette use among Korean adolescents and the relationship between e-cigarette use and current (past 30-day) smoking, cigarettes/day, attempts to quit conventional cigarettes, and ceasing to use cigarettes. METHODS: Data from the 2011 Korean Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey of 75,643 students aged 13-18 years were analyzed with logistic regression. RESULTS: A total of 9.4% (8.0% ever-dual users who were concurrently using e-cigarettes and smoking conventional cigarettes and 1.4% ever-e-cigarette only users) of Korean adolescents have ever used e-cigarettes and 4.7% were current (past 30-day) e-cigarette users (3.6% dual users and 1.1% e-cigarettes only). After adjusting for demographics, current cigarette smokers were much more likely to use e-cigarettes than were nonsmokers. Among current cigarette smokers, those who smoked more frequently were more likely to be current e-cigarette users. The odds of being an e-cigarette user were 1.58 times (95% confidence interval, 1.39-1.79) higher among students who had made an attempt to quit than for those who had not. It was rare for students no longer using cigarettes to be among current e-cigarette users (odds ratio, .10; confidence interval, .09-.12). CONCLUSIONS: Some Korean adolescents may be responding to advertising claims that e-cigarettes are a cessation aid: those who had made an attempt to quit were more likely to use e-cigarettes but less likely to no longer use cigarettes. E-cigarette use was strongly associated with current and heavier cigarette smoking.
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