Psychometric Evaluation of the E-cigarette Dependence Scale


Introduction: Psychometrically sound measures of e-cigarette dependence are lacking.

Methods: We modified the PROMIS Item Bank v1.0-Smoking: Nicotine Dependence for All Smokers for use with e-cigarettes and evaluated the psychometrics of the 22-, 8-, and 4-item adapted versions, referred to as The E-cigarette dependence scale (EDS). Adults (1009) who reported using e-cigarettes at least weekly completed an anonymous survey in summer 2016 (50.2% male, 77.1% White, mean age 35.81 [10.71], 66.4% daily e-cigarette users, 72.6% current cigarette smokers). Psychometric analyses included confirmatory factor analysis, internal consistency, measurement invariance, examination of mean-level differences, convergent validity, and test-criterion relationships with e-cigarette use outcomes.

Results: All EDS versions had confirmable, internally consistent latent structures that were scalar invariant by sex, race, e-cigarette use (nondaily/daily), e-liquid nicotine content (no/yes), and current cigarette smoking status (no/yes). Daily e-cigarette users, nicotine e-liquid users, and cigarette smokers reported being more dependent on e-cigarettes than their counterparts. All EDS versions correlated strongly with one another, evidenced convergent validity with the Penn State E-cigarette Dependence Index and time to first e-cigarette use in the morning, and evidenced test-criterion relationships with vaping frequency, e-liquid nicotine concentration, and e-cigarette quit attempts. Similar results were observed when analyses were conducted within subsamples of exclusive e-cigarette users and duals-users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

Conclusions: Each EDS version evidenced strong psychometric properties for assessing e-cigarette dependence in adults who either use e-cigarette exclusively or who are dual-users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. However, results indicated little benefit of the longer versions over the 4-item EDS, which provides an efficient assessment of e-cigarette dependence.

Implications: The availability of the novel, psychometrically sound EDS can further research on a wide range of questions related to e-cigarette use and dependence. In addition, the overlap between the EDS and the original PROMIS that was developed for assessing nicotine dependence to cigarettes provides consistency within the field.


Oxford University Press

Publication Date


Publication Title

Nicotine & Tobacco Research



Document Type




Tobacco product use, Nicotine dependence, Electronic cigarettes, Fagerstrom test, Fit indexes, Validity, Sample, Users, Smoke