E-cigarettes are marketed as a “healthy” alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, a new study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors suggests that use of e-cigarettes might be linked to problematic drinking and vice versa.
A team of researchers at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the U.S. said that it is important to assess and understand the knock-out effects of e-cigarettes during safety analysis than to just look at its direct health impact.
E-cigarettes were originally developed to mimic the effect of traditional cigarettes. Even though it gives its users the same look and feel of smoking a real cigarette, e-cigarette is actually a support device for the users who wish to quit smoking.
The number of e-cigarette users has dramatically increased in the recent past. Due to an increase in the number of users, researchers around the world have been trying to look at its health effects. However, the recent research carried out by the Indianapolis researchers looked at the secondary effects of using an e-cigarette.
During the study, the researchers questioned two groups of 692 and 714 people who drink alcohol. The researchers used a modified version of the Nicotine and Other Substance Interaction Expectancy Questionnaire (NOSIE) to assess whether the subjects were likely to use e-cigarettes and alcohol together.
The researchers found that e-cigarette users were more likely to drink problematically than non-users. In addition, subjects who used e-cigarette and alcohol together were more likely to drink more.
The researchers concluded that people using e-cigarettes might be missing on the benefits of quitting the practice. Smoking cessation takes place in people who drink less alcohol. However, the researchers said that with e-cigarettes, this might never come true.
"By replacing smoking with the e-cigarette use, it could be that you're at risk of continuing behaviors you don't want to continue. This is particularly serious for people with alcohol addiction - using e-cigarettes could make it harder to stop drinking," said lead author Alexandra Hershberger, in a statement.