Patterning of e-cigarette use in UK households
Smoking remains an important driver of health inequalities, and e-cigarettes are an important new development in this area. E-cigarette use is rising rapidly and it is important to understand who is using these devices. They have great potential for harm reduction in relation to smoking, which could help narrow health inequalities caused by smoking. However, some fear they may have an adverse impact on young people, re-normalising smoking behaviour or helping to establish nicotine addiction.
Evidence on inequalities in e-cigarette use among adults and especially youth is sparse, but could have important implications. Inequalities in adult use, particularly among smokers, will affect the extent to which e-cigarettes may alleviate smoking-related health inequalities, and inequalities among youth may mean young people in certain social strata are more at risk of long-term nicotine addiction. Moreover, there is a long established link between parental smoking and youth uptake of smoking. Similar mechanisms may apply for e-cigarettes and have implications for the generation of inequalities in e-cigarette use.
We aim to estimate socioeconomic inequalities in e-cigarette use among youth and adults, and to estimate associations between parental and youth use of e-cigarettes. Further, we will examine whether any of these patterns have changed since regulations on e-cigarettes were strengthened in May 2016.
Michaela Benzeval, University of Essex