In the Journals

Young adult cancer survivors more likely than peers to use e-cigarettes

Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH
Helen M. Parsons

Young adult cancer survivors had disproportionally higher rates of e-cigarette use across nearly all demographic subgroups compared with their peers without a cancer history, according to results of a survey-based research letter published in JAMA Oncology.

The results suggest targeted interventions may be needed to reduce vaping among young adult cancer survivors, researchers noted.

“Previous research suggests that e-cigarette ingredients can be harmful to the lungs,” Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the division of health policy and management at University of Minnesota, told Healio. “Young adults with cancer are already at increased risk for adverse outcomes after their cancer, including second cancers, so reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, such as those in e-cigarettes, is an important strategy to reduce their risk.”

Use of e-cigarettes has increased dramatically among young adults compared with other age groups. Previous studies have shown that young adults with a history of cancer engage in high-risk health behaviors, such as smoking, more often than their healthy peers. However, studies have not examined e-cigarette use among young adults who survived cancer relative to their peers without cancer.

Parsons and colleagues sought to fill this research gap using data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, conducted nationwide, which included inquiries about health behaviors, long-term disease and related health topics. The researchers evaluated any and current use of e-cigarettes among 54,931 survey participants aged 18 to 39 years, including 1,444 who reported a history of cancer.

Young adult cancer survivors had disproportionally higher rates of e-cigarette use across nearly all demographic subgroups compared with their peers without a cancer history.

Results showed a higher proportion of young adults with a cancer history than without a cancer history reported ever using e-cigarettes (46.7% vs. 39.1%; OR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.24-1.92).

Young adults with a cancer history also appeared more likely to be current e-cigarette users (31.3% vs. 26.9%; adjusted OR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1-2.04).

Cancer survivors demonstrated higher rates of e-cigarette use across several demographic subgroups, but not among non-Hispanic whites.

Adjusted logistic regression analyses among all individuals showed younger, non-Hispanic white and male young adults, as well as those living in urban areas, all appeared more likely to have ever used or currently use e-cigarettes.

Among those with a history of cancer, young adults in urban areas were more likely to have ever used e-cigarettes, whereas those who were younger and male were more likely to continue e-cigarette use.

“Recent federal and local legislation to restrict sales of popular e-cigarette flavors are a step in the right direction to reduce the impact of vaping on young adults in the U.S.,” Parsons told Healio. “We need additional research on the most effective interventions to both help young adult cancer survivors understand their added risk for second cancers due to vaping and help them effectively quit.” – by John DeRosier

For more information:

Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH, can be reached at University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. SE, MMC 150, Minneapolis, MN, 55455; email: pars0100@umn.edu.

Disclosures:

Parsons reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH
Helen M. Parsons

Young adult cancer survivors had disproportionally higher rates of e-cigarette use across nearly all demographic subgroups compared with their peers without a cancer history, according to results of a survey-based research letter published in JAMA Oncology.

The results suggest targeted interventions may be needed to reduce vaping among young adult cancer survivors, researchers noted.

“Previous research suggests that e-cigarette ingredients can be harmful to the lungs,” Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the division of health policy and management at University of Minnesota, told Healio. “Young adults with cancer are already at increased risk for adverse outcomes after their cancer, including second cancers, so reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, such as those in e-cigarettes, is an important strategy to reduce their risk.”

Use of e-cigarettes has increased dramatically among young adults compared with other age groups. Previous studies have shown that young adults with a history of cancer engage in high-risk health behaviors, such as smoking, more often than their healthy peers. However, studies have not examined e-cigarette use among young adults who survived cancer relative to their peers without cancer.

Parsons and colleagues sought to fill this research gap using data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, conducted nationwide, which included inquiries about health behaviors, long-term disease and related health topics. The researchers evaluated any and current use of e-cigarettes among 54,931 survey participants aged 18 to 39 years, including 1,444 who reported a history of cancer.

Young adult cancer survivors had disproportionally higher rates of e-cigarette use across nearly all demographic subgroups compared with their peers without a cancer history.

Results showed a higher proportion of young adults with a cancer history than without a cancer history reported ever using e-cigarettes (46.7% vs. 39.1%; OR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.24-1.92).

Young adults with a cancer history also appeared more likely to be current e-cigarette users (31.3% vs. 26.9%; adjusted OR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1-2.04).

Cancer survivors demonstrated higher rates of e-cigarette use across several demographic subgroups, but not among non-Hispanic whites.

Adjusted logistic regression analyses among all individuals showed younger, non-Hispanic white and male young adults, as well as those living in urban areas, all appeared more likely to have ever used or currently use e-cigarettes.

Among those with a history of cancer, young adults in urban areas were more likely to have ever used e-cigarettes, whereas those who were younger and male were more likely to continue e-cigarette use.

“Recent federal and local legislation to restrict sales of popular e-cigarette flavors are a step in the right direction to reduce the impact of vaping on young adults in the U.S.,” Parsons told Healio. “We need additional research on the most effective interventions to both help young adult cancer survivors understand their added risk for second cancers due to vaping and help them effectively quit.” – by John DeRosier

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For more information:

Helen M. Parsons, PhD, MPH, can be reached at University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. SE, MMC 150, Minneapolis, MN, 55455; email: pars0100@umn.edu.

Disclosures:

Parsons reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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