Degree Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Meghan Morean

Keywords

Cigarettes, E-cigarettes, Eating, Disorder, Weight, Nicotine

Abstract

BACKGROUND. E-cigarette use has increased exponentially in recent years. Prior research suggests that some adult e-cigarette users vape to lose weight. The current study examined whether rates of vaping to lose weight are elevated among American adults diagnosed with an eating disorder (i.e., Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder [OSFED]).

METHODS. American adult e-cigarette users who reported vaping at least weekly and who either had a history of an eating disorder (n = 205, 86.3% with a current diagnosis, 75.2% female, 83.0% White, 33.54 [SD = 8.90] years, 71.4% cigarette smokers) or no history of an eating disorder (n = 433, 54.7% female, 83.4% White, 38.98 [SD = 11.71] years, 73.9% cigarette smokers) completed an online survey.

RESULTS. Participants with a current eating disorder were more likely to endorse vaping to lose weight, vaping for appealing flavors, and vaping because it can be concealed easily from others than were participants with no eating disorder history. Participants with a current eating disorder also reported vaping more frequently overall and using higher e-liquid nicotine concentrations than individuals with no eating disorder history. Among individuals with no eating disorder history, vaping frequency was associated with nicotine content, menthol flavor, and negative reinforcement. Among individuals with a current eating disorder, vaping frequency was associated with nicotine content, mint or vanilla flavored e-liquid, positive reinforcement, and appetite/weight control.

CONCLUSIONS. Individuals currently diagnosed with an eating disorder disproportionately reported vaping to lose weight, vaping to conceal it from others, and experiencing positive reinforcement through using appealing flavors. They also vaped more frequently overall and used higher levels of nicotine, raising health concerns within this already vulnerable population. The current results suggest that assessing and monitoring e-cigarette use should be incorporated into existing eating disorder treatments.

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Psychology Commons

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