Real World Assessment of e-Cigarette Use for Smoking Cessation Among Older Smokers

Research Fields: 
Addiction and Cessation

In the U.S. there has been tremendous success in the reduction of smoking prevalence. However, for older adults who make up over a quarter of the US population and are expected to double by 2050, the decrease in smoking prevalence has stalled. While overall tobacco use in the US has declined the smallest reductions have been among 45-64yos and men older than 65 actually had a 10% increase. There has been rapid growth in electronic cigarette use among older smokers and the most common reported reason for use is to quit smoking cigarettes. Older adults are not quitting smoking at the same rates as in previous decades, and those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become dual users. The current challenge for the FDA is to put in place regulations that benefit public health at a time when there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether e-cigarettes can help reduce the prevalence of smoking. Despite the fact that older adults’ carry the largest tobacco related disease burden and their use of e-cigarettes is steadily increasing, older smokers are an understudied population in regulatory science. Among younger age groups, studies have shown a predictive relationship between perceptions of tobacco-related risks and tobacco use behaviors. However, we know very little about older adult risk and benefit perceptions, or whether such perceptions predict patterns of tobacco use and cessation. In order to address the needs of older smokers, the FDA needs detailed information, collected in real world situations about contextual and psycho-biological factors that impact perceptions which in turn affect tobacco use and cessation behaviors