Investigating the added value of biomarkers compared with self-reported smoking in predicting future e-cigarette use: Evidence from a longitudinal UK cohort study
IntroductionBiomarkers can be used to assess smoking behaviour more accurately and objectively than self-report. This study assessed the association between cotinine (a biomarker of smoke exposure) and later e-cigarette use among a population who were unexposed to e-cigarettes in youth. MethodsYoung people in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children took part in the study. We observed associations between cotinine at 15 years (measured between 2006 and 2008 before the wide availability of e-cigarettes) and self-reported ever use of e-cigarettes at 22 (measured between 2014 and 2015 when e-cigarettes were widely available) using logistic regression. A range of potential confounders were adjusted for (age, sex, body mass index, alcohol use and passive smoke exposure). Additionally, we adjusted for the young peoples self-reported smoking status/history to explore potential misreporting and measurement error. ResultsIn a sample of N=1,194 young people, cotinine levels consistent with active smoking at 15 years were associated with increased odds of e-cigarette ever use at 22 years (Odds Ratio [OR]=7.24, 95% CI 3.29 to 15.93) even when self-reported active smoking status at age 16 (OR=3.14, 95% CI 1.32 to 7.48) and latent classes of smoking behaviour from 14 to 16 (OR=2.70, 95% CI 0.98 to 7.44) were included in the model. ConclusionsCotinine levels consistent with smoking in adolescence were strongly associated with increased odds of later e-cigarette use, even after adjusting for reported smoking behaviour at age 16 and smoking transitions from 14 to 16.
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