Electronic Cigarette Use Among Emerging and Young West Indian Adults

Rayshell Dhandoolal,1 Shivanni De Gannes,1 Andrew Dhanoolal,1 Matthew Desaine,1 Dania Dukhoo,1 Stephen Duncombe,1 Dylan Dupraj,1 Tai Dorsett,1 Isaac Dialsingh,2 Sateesh Sakhamuri,1 *Lexley M. Pinto Pereira1

1. Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
2. Faculty of Natural Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
*Correspondence to lexleyp@gmail.com

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
Received: 27.03.17 Accepted: 15.09.17
Citation: EMJ Respir. 2017;5[1]:108-115.


Currently, evidence concerning electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in the West Indies is unavailable. This study examines the prevalence and associated factors of e-cigarette use in young Trinidadian adults, 6 years after e-cigarettes were introduced in Trinidad.  Young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 years were surveyed from May–June 2016. Based on the survey results, descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were used to identify correlations in e-cigarette use. The prevalence of those who had used e-cigarettes was 24.6%, and 41.9% of these people had used both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. A high proportion (16.95%) of those who had never used tobacco cigarettes had used e-cigarettes. Males were twice as likely as females to have used e-cigarettes (odds ratio [OR]: 2.60; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.85–3.68), and participants aged 18–25 years were more likely than those aged 36–40 years to use e-cigarettes (OR: 0.37; 95% CI: 0.14–0.81). The predictors of e-cigarette use as assessed by univariate analysis were current tobacco cigarette smoking (OR: 9.34; 95% CI: 6.14–14.39; p<0.001) and the belief that e-cigarettes are dangerous to health (OR: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.44–0.85; p=0.004). The predictors as assessed by multivariate logistic regression (adjusted OR) were ethnicity (p=0.043), education (p=0.012), and age group (p=0.007). Those who quit using tobacco cigarettes were 7.98 times more likely to use e-cigarettes (95% CI: 4.21–15.45), and those who knew that e-cigarettes contain nicotine were 2.70 times more likely to use them (95% CI: 1.53–4.86; p<0.001). Two summative scales were constructed that measured knowledge and perception. The perception scale, but not the knowledge scale (Cronbach’s alpha=0.736), was a significant predictor of e-cigarette use. The number of e-cigarette users is high (24.6%) in young adults in Trinidad and in those who have never smoked tobacco (16.95%). Current smokers, as well as those who have quit smoking, are at an increased risk of e-cigarette use. This study established that young adults have a low level of knowledge regarding e-cigarettes and shows that they should be educated on e-cigarette use. Further research to examine the reasons for, and susceptibility to, e-cigarette use is necessary.

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