Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences as Predictors of Cigarette and E-Cigarette Use


      Adverse childhood experiences contribute to both short- and long-term health issues and negative health behaviors that affect the individual as well as families and communities. Exposure to ≥4 of the 11 adverse childhood experiences (high adverse childhood experiences) compounds the problems in later life. This study assesses the associations among tobacco use, adverse childhood experiences, mental health, and community health.


      This study was a secondary data analysis utilizing a large 2019 data set from a Community Health Needs Assessment in Florida (N=14,056). Investigators utilized inferential statistics to determine adverse childhood experiences as a predictor of tobacco use (vaping and cigarette use). In addition, they examined whether a shorter, 2-question adverse childhood experience scale was equivalent to the full scale when predicting tobacco use.


      The results indicated that parental divorce was the most common household stressor, followed by mental illness and alcoholism. High adverse childhood experiences were found to be most prominent in marginalized individuals. For those individuals experiencing ≥4 adverse childhood experiences, parental divorce continued to rank high, followed by mental illness. Household stressors included emotional and physical abuse as the most prevalent in the ≥4 adverse childhood experience group. High adverse childhood experiences were associated with current cigarette smoking (AOR=1.56) after controlling for individual mental health and social/community health variables. High adverse childhood experiences were also associated with E-cigarette use (AOR=1.81) but not dual cigarette/E-cigarette use. Social and community health was inversely associated with tobacco use. A 2-item adverse childhood experiences measure was sufficient in identifying tobacco users.


      Including adverse childhood experiences in community needs assessments provides important information for tobacco control efforts and prevention of chronic disease.
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