Disparities in E-Cigarette and Tobacco Use Among Adolescents With Disabilities

Angela Senders, Willi Horner-Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: In 2019, nearly 30% of US high-school students reported current (past 30 day) e-cigarette use. Adolescents with disabilities are consistently more likely to smoke cigarettes compared with their nondisabled peers, yet little is known about their use of other forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes. We compared the prevalence of tobacco use (e-cigarettes, cigarettes, little cigars, large cigars, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco) among high school students with at least 1 disability to those without disability. METHODS: Data were from the 2015 and 2017 Oregon Healthy Teens survey, a statewide representative sample of 11th-grade students. We estimated the prevalence of current (past 30 day) tobacco use by product type and disability status (yes or no). We used multivariable Poisson regression to estimate prevalence ratios measuring the association between disability status and current tobacco use, by product: 1) combustible products only, 2) e-cigarettes only, and 3) dual use of combustibles and e-cigarettes. RESULTS: Students with disabilities were more likely to use a variety of tobacco products compared with their nondisabled peers, including cigarettes (12.3% vs 5.4%), little cigars (7.0% vs 5.4%), hookahs (6.2% vs 3.8%), and e-cigarettes (18.3% vs 12.3%). In adjusted models, students with a disability were more likely to report using combustibles only (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 1.55; 95% CI, 1.31-1.84), e-cigarettes only (aPR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.16-1.59), or dual use (aPR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.29-1.80) compared with nondisabled students. CONCLUSION: Effective tobacco control programs should target populations with the greatest burden of tobacco use. Results suggest that tobacco prevention and reduction efforts should explicitly include adolescents with disabilities and employ accommodations that support their participation in program activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E135
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
StatePublished - Oct 29 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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