Young adults report increased pleasure from using e-cigarettes and smoking tobacco cigarettes when drinking alcohol

Johannes Thrul, Noah R. Gubner, Chiara L. Tice, Nadra E. Lisha, Pamela M. Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Cigarettes share a high rate of co-use with alcohol, particularly among young adults. Studies have demonstrated greater perceived pleasure from smoking cigarettes when drinking alcohol. However, little is known about co-use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and alcohol. The current study sought to compare extent of use and perceived pleasure from cigarettes and e-cigs when drinking alcohol. Methods: Young adult bar patrons in California cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) were recruited in 2015–16 using randomized time-location sampling. Participants completed cross-sectional surveys in bars, reporting the percent of cigarette smoking/e-cig use that occurred under the influence of alcohol, and reported if pleasure from smoking cigarettes/using e-cigs changed when drinking alcohol. Analyses are limited to participants reporting current (past 30-day) use of cigarettes, e-cigs, and alcohol (N = 269; M age = 24.1; 40.1% female, 36.1% Non-Hispanic White). Results: Participants reported a greater percentage of cigarette smoking compared to e-cig use under the influence of alcohol (cigarettes M = 63.6%; e-cigs M = 46.7%; p <.001). Participants also reported increased pleasure both from smoking cigarettes (M = 3.9; [compared to midpoint of scale 3 - “no change”] p <.001) and using e-cigs (M = 3.3; p <.001) when drinking alcohol. The increase in pleasure was more pronounced for cigarettes compared to e-cigs (p <.001). Conclusions: Drinking alcohol is associated with increases in perceived rewarding effects of both cigarettes and e-cigs and thus may increase their abuse liability. This effect may be stronger for cigarettes, which could be an important barrier to switching completely from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigs, or quitting both entirely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Co-use
  • ENDS
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Young adults report increased pleasure from using e-cigarettes and smoking tobacco cigarettes when drinking alcohol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this