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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Conner, M. Grogan, S., Simms-Ellis, R. Flett, K., Sykes-Muskett1, B., Cowap, L., Lawton, R., Armitage, C., Meads, D. Schmitt, L., Torgerson, C., West, R. & Siddiqi, K. (2020). Evidence that an intervention weakens the relationship between adolescent electronic cigarette use and tobacco smoking: a 24-month prospective study. Tobacco Control 29(4): 425-431.

Author(s) from Durham


Background: The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use to subsequent smoking relationship in adolescents has received much attention. Whether an intervention to reduce smoking initiation attenuated this relationship was assessed.
Method: Data were from 3994 adolescent never smokers (aged 13–14 years at baseline) as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial. Self-report measures of smoking, e-cigarette use and covariates were assessed and used to predict ever smoked cigarettes, any recent tobacco smoking and regularly smoked cigarettes at 24-month follow-up.
Results: Baseline ever use of e-cigarettes was associated with ever smoked cigarettes (OR=4.03, 95% CI 3.33 to 4.88; controlling for covariates, OR=2.78, 95% CI 2.20 to 3.51), any recent tobacco smoking (OR=3.38, 95% CI 2.72 to 4.21; controlling for covariates, OR=2.17, 95% CI 1.76 to 2.69) and regularly smoked cigarettes (OR=3.60, 95% CI 2.35 to 5.51; controlling for covariates, OR=1.27, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.39) at follow-up. For ever smoked cigarettes only, the impact of e-cigarette use was attenuated in the intervention (OR=1.83) compared with control (OR=4.53) condition. For ever smoked cigarettes and any recent tobacco smoking, the impact of e-cigarette use was attenuated among those with friends who smoked (OR=2.05 (ever smoked); 1·53 (any tobacco use)) compared with those without friends who smoked (OR=3.32 (ever smoked); 2·17 (any tobacco use)).
Conclusions: This is one of the first studies to show that e-cigarette use was robustly associated with measures of smoking over 24 months and the first to show an intervention to attenuate the relationship. Further research with a broader age range of adolescents is required.

School of Education