Tobacco and e-cigarette use amongst illicit drug users in Australia

Sutherland, Rachel, Sindicich, Natasha, Entwistle, Gavin, Whittaker, Elizabeth, Peacock, Amy, Matthews, Allison, Bruno, Raimondo, Alati, Rosa and Burns, Lucy (2016) Tobacco and e-cigarette use amongst illicit drug users in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 159 35-41. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.035

Author Sutherland, Rachel
Sindicich, Natasha
Entwistle, Gavin
Whittaker, Elizabeth
Peacock, Amy
Matthews, Allison
Bruno, Raimondo
Alati, Rosa
Burns, Lucy
Title Tobacco and e-cigarette use amongst illicit drug users in Australia
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Dependence   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-0046
Publication date 2016-02-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.035
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 159
Start page 35
End page 41
Total pages 7
Place of publication Shannon, Clare Ireland
Publisher Elsevier Ireland
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

To examine the rates and patterns of tobacco and e-cigarette use amongst two samples of illicit drug users in Australia.


Data were obtained from the 2015 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the 2015 Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS). These studies comprised cross-sectional samples of 888 people who inject drugs (PWID) and 763 regular psychostimulant users (RPU).


Tobacco was consumed by the majority of both samples, however, use in the 6 months preceding interview was significantly higher amongst PWID (92.2%) than RPU (82.4% [OR 2.53 95% CI 1.86–3.44]). Inversely, PWID were less likely to have a history of e-cigarette use: 31.5% of PWID reported lifetime use of e-cigarettes (vs. 57.0% of RPU [OR 0.35 95% CI 0.28–0.42]) and 18.1% reported use in the 6 months preceding interview (vs. 33.7% of RPU [OR 0.44 95% CI 0.35–0.55]). PWID were more than three times as likely than RPU to report using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool (OR 3.09 95% CI 2.03–4.71), but were less likely to use e-liquids that contained nicotine (OR 0.52 95% CI 0.32–0.83). Higher levels of poly drug use, daily tobacco use, recent use of synthetic cannabinoids and employment status were found to be significantly associated with e-cigarette use.


The use of e-cigarettes was relatively common amongst Australian samples of PWID and RPU. Whilst the majority of PWID reported using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool, it appears that RPU are using them for experimental or recreational purposes.
Keyword E-cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes
Illicit drugs
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research Publications
School of Public Health Publications
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