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Documentation of e-cigarette use and associations with smoking from 2012 to 2015 in an integrated healthcare delivery system

It is unclear whether use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) precedes cigarette smoking initiation, relapse, and/or quitting. Healthcare systems with electronic health records (EHRs) provide unique data to examine ENDS use and changes in smoking. We examined the incidence of ENDS use (2012-2015) based on clinician documentation and tested whether EHR documented ENDS use is associated with twelve-month changes in patient smoking status using a matched retrospective cohort design. The sample was Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) patients aged ≥12 with documented ENDS use (N = 7926); 57% were current smokers, 35% former smokers, and 8% never-smokers. ENDS documentation incidence peaked in 2014 for current and former smokers and in 2015 for never-smokers. We matched patients with documented ENDS use to KPNC patients without documented ENDS use (N = 7926) on age, sex, race/ethnicity, and smoking status. Documented ENDS use predicted the likelihood of smoking in the following year. Among current smokers, ENDS use was associated with greater odds of quitting smoking (OR = 1.17, 95%CI = 1.05-1.31). Among former smokers, ENDS use was associated with greater odds of smoking relapse (OR = 1.53, 95%CI = 1.22-1.92). Among never-smokers, ENDS use was associated with greater odds of initiating smoking (OR = 7.41, 95%CI = 3.14-17.5). The overall number of current smokers at 12 months was slightly higher among patients with (N = 3931) versus without (N = 3850) documented ENDS use. Results support both potential harm reduction of ENDS use (quitting combustibles among current smokers) and potential for harm (relapse to combustibles among former smokers, initiation for never-smokers).

Authors: Young-Wolff KC; Klebaner D; Folck B; Tan ASL; Fogelberg R; Sarovar V; Prochaska JJ

Prev Med. 2018 04;109:113-118. Epub 2018-01-31.

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