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TSRC, Tob. Sci. Res. Conf., 2023, 76, abstr. 36

Abstinence, relapse, and relative harm perceptions among smokers and e-cigarette users in the population assessment of tobacco and health (PATH) study

RAI Services Company, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Objectives: Nearly 30 million adults in the United States smoke, and of those wanting to quit, most individuals report multiple quit attempts. In the current study, we examine how abstinence and relapse patterns differ between cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users in PATH adult datasets, with the goal of understanding how harm perceptions influence these behaviors.

Methods: We identified the longest abstinence period prior to relapse in samples of current smokers and current vapor product users at Wave 4 who abstained from using their product at Wave 5. Abstinence was defined as either:

A) Self-reported time since last use of the product among Wave 5 former smokers or former vapor product users, or

B) Self-reported time since one abstained from smoking (or vaping) because he/she wanted to quit until the time he/she relapsed into the same product among Wave 5 current smokers or current vapor product users.

Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard models were used in the analysis. Analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic variables – sex, age groups, race, and education – and perception of e-cigarettes harm relative to cigarettes.

Preliminary Results: The final sample included 1,554 Wave 5 abstainers with valid data:

  • 1,131 abstained from cigarettes during wave 5 (14.31%, n=160 relapsed into cigarettes)
  • 522 abstained from e-cigarettes during wave 5 (2.86%, n=12 relapsed into e-cigarettes)

We will explore how perceptions of e-cigarette harm relative to cigarettes affects abstinence and relapse in the two user groups, which has implications for public health by informing tobacco product policy and regulations.