A recent study has linked e-cigarettes to problematic drinking. In a study involving around 1400 people, researchers also found that more women than men use e-cigarettes socially, opposite to patterns seen in regular cigarette smoking.
The authors of the new study, from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the United States, say it’s crucial to consider the knock-on effects of e-cigarette use when evaluating their safety, not just their direct health effects.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were developed to mimic real cigarettes, giving users the same look, feel and experience as smoking a cigarette. They are widely promoted as a ‘healthy’ alternative to smoking and as support devices for smoking cessation. More than 6% of the general population – and 17 percent of people with addictions – use e-cigarettes.
The new study looks at one of the secondary effects of e-cigarette use and suggests that people need to be aware of the link between e-cigarette use and problematic drinking.
“This area of research is extremely important and I don’t want it to get pushed to the side,” said Alexandra Hershberger, lead author of the study from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the United States. “Establishing the direct health effects of e-cigarette use is important but it’s vital to look at the secondary effects too.”
The results suggest that using e-cigarettes to quit smoking could mean people miss out on the benefits of quitting; smoking cessation generally results in people drinking less alcohol, but using e-cigarettes means this decrease may not happen.
The study also revealed that more women use e-cigarettes socially than men. In general, men report more risk-taking behaviors than women, including smoking, drinking and drug use. The findings suggest that women may not perceive e-cigarette use as risky.
The study is published in Addictive Behaviors.