Cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use among university students in Queensland, Australia and New Zealand: results of two cross-sectional surveys

Wamamili, Ben, Lawler, Sheleigh, Wallace-Bell, Mark, Gartner, Coral, Sellars, David, Grace, Randolph C., Courtney, Ryan, and Coope, Pat (2021) Cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use among university students in Queensland, Australia and New Zealand: results of two cross-sectional surveys. BMJ Open, 11 (2). e041705.

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Objectives: Examine the patterns of cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use (vaping), the perceived harm of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco cigarettes, and associations between smoking and vaping with student characteristics.

Design: Cross-sectional studies.

Setting: The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia and eight New Zealand (NZ) universities.

Participants: Students at UQ: 4957 (70.8% aged <25 years, 63.0% women) and NZ: 1854 (82.5% aged <25 years, 60.1% women).

Methods: Χ2 tests compared smoking by age and gender, and vaping by age, gender and smoking status. Two-sided p<0.05 was considered significant and 95% CIs reported where appropriate. Multinomial logistic regression examined associations between smoking and vaping (exclusive smoking, exclusive vaping, dual use and non-use) with age, gender and student type (domestic vs international).

Results: Smoking (UQ vs NZ, 95% CI): ever 45.2% (43.8% to 46.6%) vs 50.0% (47.7% to 52.3%), current 8.9% (8.1% to 9.7%) vs 10.4% (9.1% to 11.9%) and daily 5.2% (4.6% to 5.8%) vs 5.6% (4.6% to 6.7%), and not smoking in indoor 98.3% vs 87.7% or outdoor smoke-free spaces 83.8% vs 65.3%.

Vaping (UQ vs NZ, 95% CI): ever 20.9% (19.8% to 22.1%) vs 37.6% (35.4% to 39.9%), current 1.8% (1.5% to 2.2%) vs 6.5% (5.4% to 7.7%) and daily 0.7% (0.5% to 1.0%) vs 2.5% (1.9% to 3.4%), and not vaping in indoor 91.4% vs 79.6% or outdoor smoke-free spaces 84.4% vs 71.3%. Of respondents, 71.7% (70.3% to 73.2%) vs 75.3% (72.9% to 77.6%) perceived e-cigarettes as less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.

Men were more likely than women to smoke and vape, and to believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful. Regression models containing all predictors for smoking and vaping were significant and the effect of gender was significant for dual use, exclusive smoking and exclusive vaping (all p<0.01). Men had higher odds for smoking, vaping or dual use.

Conclusions: Results suggest significant differences in patterns of smoking and vaping of university students in Australia and NZ, and a strong influence of gender on smoking and vaping.

Item ID: 66911
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2044-6055
Keywords: epidemiology, health policy, public health
Copyright Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2021 00:23
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 80%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420201 Behavioural epidemiology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200413 Substance abuse @ 100%
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