Use patterns and tobacco use histories among users of diverse vapor products: cigalikes, tanks, and other vapor products
There are several types of vapor products, but little research has characterized differences in their use or users. We examined the differences in use and characteristics of users of cigalikes, tanks, and other, 'variant' vapor products in a national online survey of US adults. A total of 11,601 past-30-day users of vapor products were identified in 2015-16 in the National Tobacco Behavior Monitor. Demographics, use patterns, and tobacco-use profiles were compared between exclusive and multiple device users. Exclusive use of cigalikes was most common (45%); exclusive tank use (23%) and concurrent tank and cigalike use (17%) were also common, and exclusive use of variant products least common (5%). User profiles differed significantly by product type. Cigalike and multiple device users tended to be male (60%, 62%, respectively). Users of variants tended to be Black (15%) or Hispanic (25%), whereas users of cigalikes (63%), tanks (70%), or both (61%) tended to be White. Tank users had the highest rate of daily use (36%), and also were the most likely to be previously-established smokers who had quit (27% of tank users), especially if they used tanks daily (55% were former smokers). Users of multiple vapor products were least likely to be former smokers (10%) unlike users of variant vapor products who were most likely to be infrequent users (42% using less than 5 days/month), and least likely to have a history of established tobacco use (78%). It is important to understand these differences in product selection; research should avoid combining various vapor products or assuming their users or patterns of use are homogeneous. Longitudinal data may further inform whether these patterns reflect migration between vapor products.