Electronic cigarettes (ECs) may hold great potential for helping smokers transition off combustible cigarettes (CCs); however, little is known about the patterns that smokers follow when using an EC as a CC-substitute in order to ultimately reduce and quit smoking. Our primary aim in this study was to evaluate whether common patterns of CC use exist amongst individuals asked to substitute an EC for at least half of the CCs they would normally smoke. These patterns may elucidate the immediate switching and reduction behaviors of individuals using ECs as a reduction/cessation tool. This analysis uses data from a randomized controlled trial of 84 adult smokers assigned to receive either 4.5% nicotine or placebo (0% nicotine) EC. Participants were advised to use the EC to help them reach a 50% reduction in cigarettes-per-day (CPD) within 3 weeks. Longitudinal trajectory analysis was used to identify CPD reduction classes amongst the sample; participants clustered into four distinct, linear trajectories based on daily CC use during the 3-week intervention. Higher readiness to quit smoking, prior successful quit attempts, and lower baseline CC consumption were associated with assignment into “more successful” CC reduction classes. ECs may be a useful mechanism to promote CC reduction. This study demonstrates that a fine-grained trajectory approach can be applied to examine switching patterns in the critical first weeks of an attempt.
Analyzing trajectories of acute cigarette reduction post-introduction of an e-cigarette using ecological momentary assessment data
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19 (12), 7452. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19127452. PMCID: PMC9223631.