Prevalence and Perceptions of Cigarettes, Vaping, and Waterpipe Among Veterans

Prevalence and Perceptions of Cigarettes, Vaping, and Waterpipe Among Veterans

Dana El Hajj, PhD, RN*, Patricia Valverde, PhD, Catherine Battaglia, PhD, RN, Allan V. Prochazka, M.D., M.Sc., Paul. F Cook, PhD

University of North Carolina in Wilmington, Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center Aurora, CO

Introduction: Vaping has become an epidemic with serious health concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a national alert on vaping hazards and its associations with a mysterious lung disease. The prevalence of alternative tobacco products such as waterpipe and vaping have been on the rise, with health hazards similar to those of cigarettes. However, the public is less aware of those hazards. Because the literature on alternative tobacco use among Veterans is limited, the purpose of this study is to examine veterans’ use, perceptions, and knowledge of the hazards linked to alternative tobacco products.

Materials and Methods: A convenience sample of 200 veterans seeking medical care at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, primary care clinics completed a survey on tobacco use.

Results: Cigarettes remain the most prevalent form of tobacco used by veterans. The prevalence of “ever use” of waterpipe and/or vaping was 21% among participants, and almost all of those participants also reported cigarette use, 20.5%. About 42% of participants were unaware of harm levels from waterpipe.

Discussion: Veterans are unaware of the risks associated with vaping and other alternative tobacco products and show similar use rates as the general population. Because educational campaigns have proven to be successful in decreasing smoking, the next step is to conduct educational campaigns on the hazards of alternative tobacco products among the veteran population to address myths and misperceptions regarding those products.

Keywords: Cigarettes, vape, veterans, waterpipe, alternative tobacco

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How to cite this article:
Dana El Hajj, Patricia Valverde, Catherine Battaglia, Allan V. Prochazka, Paul. F Cook. Prevalence and Perceptions of Cigarettes, Vaping, and Waterpipe Among Veterans. International Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy, 2020, 3:23. DOI: 10.28933/ijart-2020-10-0905


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