E-cigarette use, also known as vaping, may be associated with an increased risk of sleep deprivation in young adults aged 18 to 24 years even after they quit, a study in Addictive Behaviors has found. The study also suggests that e-cigarette use is rising in this age group.
Sina Kianersi, D.V.M., of the Indiana University School of Public Health and colleagues analyzed data from 18,945 young adults who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 2017 and 2018. The BRFSS is an annual telephone survey of adults living in the United States and its territories in which participants report on their health behaviors. Kianersi and colleagues drew their data from responses to questions that asked respondents how many hours they sleep in a 24-hour period; whether they have ever used an e-cigarette or other vaping device; and whether they currently use e-cigarettes or other vaping devices and, if so, how often. Sleep deprivation was defined as less than seven hours of sleep.
In 2018, 47% of young adults had ever used an e-cigarette, up from 39% the year before. In 2018, roughly 16% of young adults currently used e-cigarettes, up from 10% the year before. For both years, roughly 34% of young adults experienced sleep deprivation. Compared with young adults who had never used e-cigarettes, those who used e-cigarettes every day were 1.42 times more likely to report sleep deprivation. Those who had used e-cigarettes in the past and stopped were 1.17 times more likely to report sleep deprivation than those who never used e-cigarettes.
“Those who use e-cigarettes on a daily basis might consume higher doses of nicotine, compared to some days, former, and never users, and therefore get fewer hours of sleep,” the researchers wrote. They added that nicotine withdrawal is associated with sleeping more, which could explain why former e-cigarette users were less likely to report sleep deprivation than current e-cigarette users even though former e-cigarette users still had an elevated risk.
“Future studies with longitudinal designs and more precise measurement of different aspects of sleep will be critical to better understand the strength, magnitude, and causal nature of these relationships,” they wrote.
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “National Academies Report Details Health Impact of E-Cigarettes.”