Population-level counterfactual trend modelling to examine the relationship between smoking prevalence and e-cigarette use among US adults


Studies have suggested that some US adult smokers are switching away from smoking to e-cigarette use.

Nationally representative data may reflect such changes in smoking by assessing trends in cigarette and e-cigarette prevalence.

The objective of this study is to assess whether and how much smoking prevalence differs from expectations since the introduction of e-cigarettes.


Annual estimates of smoking and e-cigarette use in US adults varying in age, race/ethnicity, and sex were derived from the National Health Interview Survey. Regression models were fitted to smoking prevalence trends before e-cigarettes became widely available (1999–2009) and trends were extrapolated to 2019 (counterfactual model). Smoking prevalence discrepancies, defined as the difference between projected and actual smoking prevalence from 2010 to 2019, were calculated, to evaluate whether actual smoking prevalence differed from those expected from counterfactual projections. The correlation between smoking discrepancies and e-cigarette use prevalence was investigated.


Actual overall smoking prevalence from 2010 to 2019 was significantly lower than counterfactual predictions. The discrepancy was significantly larger as e-cigarette use prevalence increased. In subgroup analyses, discrepancies in smoking prevalence were more pronounced for cohorts with greater e-cigarette use prevalence, namely adults ages 18–34, adult males, and non-Hispanic White adults.


Population-level data suggest that smoking prevalence has dropped faster than expected, in ways correlated with increased e-cigarette use. This population movement has potential public health implications.

Read full article here.

Floe Foxon et al. – Metrics – 2022-10-19.

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