Passive exposure to e-cigarette emissions is associated with worsened mental health

Kayla Rae Farrell, Michael Weitzman, Emma Karey, Teresa K.Y. Lai, Terry Gordon, Violet Shu Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cigarette smoking, secondhand cigarette smoke (SHS) exposure, and e-cigarette use (“vaping”) are each associated with increased rates of depressive symptoms and other internalizing mental health disorders. The prevalence of vaping has increased greatly, yet the mental health correlates of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions are as yet to be investigated. This study examined the potential adverse mental health outcomes associated with different tobacco exposures (direct and passive), with a particular focus on the mental health correlates of secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions. Methods: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study data collected from a sample of 16,173 Wave 4 adults were used to test the hypothesis that secondhand e-cigarette emissions exposure is associated with increased odds of internalizing mental health disorders. Individuals were categorized as exclusive cigarette smokers, exclusive e-cigarette users, cigarette and e-cigarette dual users, exclusive noncombustible tobacco users, secondhand smoke exposed non-users, secondhand e-cigarette emissions exposed non-users, and non-users with no current SHS/secondhand e-cigarette aerosol exposure. Adjusted weighted logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between exposure type and internalizing problems as assessed by scores on the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screener (GAIN-SS), a widely used instrument for assessing mental health problems. Results: Cigarette smokers (AOR = 2.53, 95% CI: 2.19–2.92), e-cigarette users (AOR = 3.14, 2.41–4.09), dual users (AOR = 3.37, 2.85–4.00), noncombustible tobacco users (AOR = 1.48, 1.01–2.17), SHS exposed non-users (AOR = 1.63, 1.37–1.94), and secondhand e-cigarette emissions exposed non-users (AOR = 1.43, 1.03–1.99) were each associated with increased odds of moderate to severe internalizing mental health problems as compared to unexposed non-users. Odds of internalizing problems among SHS and secondhand e-cigarette emissions exposed non-users did not differ (p = 0.46). Conclusions: This is the first study, to our knowledge, to identify an association between recent secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions and mental health problems, and the risk is comparable to that of SHS. Corroboration of this relationship needs further research to explicate directionality and mechanisms underlying this association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1138
JournalBMC public health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • E-cigarette emissions
  • E-cigarette use
  • Internalizing disorders
  • Mental health
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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