23andMe Looks at Data on E-Cigarette Use

By Alexa Reynoso, 23andMe Affiliate Scientist, Genetic Epidemiology

Using digital cigarettes, or vaping, is related to a number of unhealthy behaviors and traits significantly amongst younger individuals, in line with new knowledge from 23andMe. 

However the knowledge merely notes an affiliation between vaping and people behaviors and traits, it’s not a sign of causation. In contrast to the long-established analysis that hyperlinks smoking to most cancers, incapacity, and dying, there stays a dearth of information on the well being results of vaping. Some current research have linked vaping to deleterious effects on the lungs. And final 12 months a Stanford examine discovered an affiliation between risk for COVID-19 and vaping amongst younger individuals. 

Scientists are nonetheless firstly of understanding the long-term well being implications of e-cigarettes. At 23andMe we’ve solely been amassing knowledge on vaping for a couple of 12 months. In the summertime of 2020, our researchers added new inquiries to our smoking survey to account for vaping and e-cigarette use.

By taking a look at knowledge we’ve gathered from the greater than 76,000 clients who consented to take part in analysis and responded to our smoking survey, we have been in a position to discover demographic and different traits of e-cigarette customers. We have been then in a position to evaluate individuals who vape to those that smoke simply cigarettes, or who each smoke and vape (twin customers), and people who don’t smoke or vape in any respect. (Be aware: This isn’t a consultant pattern of all the 23andMe inhabitants, neither is it consultant of nationwide numbers. The CDC estimates that 4.5 p.c of adults in america vape.¹ Amongst 23andMe analysis contributors, solely about .2 p.c, or 19,000 people, reported being common e-cigarette customers. The pattern for this analysis consists solely of respondents to our Smoking survey.)


What are E-Cigarettes?

Earlier than we get into what the info confirmed, it’s price understanding a bit extra about how e-cigarettes work.

Launched in 2004,² e-cigarettes have been first touted as a much less dangerous method for people who smoke to kick their behavior. In contrast to with cigarettes, customers of e-cigarettes should not inhaling smoke. They’re inhaling a smoke-like aerosol, or vapor, produced when these units warmth a liquid that normally incorporates nicotine but in addition different probably dangerous substances.¹

Whereas vaping could also be serving to some who’re making an attempt to kick their smoking behavior, it could even be a gateway for others beginning a nicotine dependancy. This may very well be significantly related for younger individuals. Juul Labs just lately paid a $40 million settlement to the state of North Carolina for allegedly focusing on youth in its advertising and marketing. Based on a examine on vaping traits revealed final 12 months within the New England Journal of Medicine, it was famous that a rise in vaping amongst younger individuals between 2018 and 2019 was “the biggest of any substance tracked” within the final 4 a long time.

23andMe’s Knowledge on Vaping Amongst Younger Individuals

In taking a look at our knowledge, 23andMe researchers discovered that these between the ages of 18-30 have been extra prone to vape.



Not solely have been younger individuals extra prone to vape, however these youthful customers of e-cigarettes have been additionally extra possible to make use of them at the next frequency. Basically, they take extra “puffs” every day than older individuals within the examine who vape. These findings are in accordance with these of the CDC.¹

Past being youthful, people who’re twin customers — they smoke and vape — come from places with a barely decrease median family earnings when in comparison with cigarette-only customers, e-cigarette solely customers, and those who used none. Lastly, when evaluating the 4 use teams with regard to years of training, analysis contributors that don’t smoke or vape are likely to have obtained the best quantity of training.

Our researchers additionally stratified by intercourse and ethnicity however didn’t discover sturdy variations as they did with age.

23andMe Insights

Whereas we didn’t look particularly at well being outcomes, we did take a look at numerous associations with unhealthy habits and traits.

We discovered associations between vaping and things like being extra prone to be confused, depressed, and anxious in comparison with those that don’t vape. Individuals who vape additionally have been extra prone to be identified with bi-polar dysfunction. We noticed associations between individuals who vape being extra prone to report poor general well being, low life satisfaction in addition to being much less prone to train and eat proper. Individuals who vape in our knowledge additionally have been extra prone to eat much less fruit, drink extra caffeine, want increased doses of ache medicine, and are much less prone to be a morning particular person. (Extra associations discovered with e-cigarette use throughout the 23andMe database are summarized in Determine 1. )


Determine 1. Setting-wide affiliation examine of e-cigarette utilization within the 23andMe European buyer inhabitants. High related elements are listed on the left, with the variety of clients who offered info on every think about parentheses. The estimates of affiliation are introduced with error bars on the proper facet.

Desk 1. Odds ratios and their corresponding p-value for outcomes run in our environment-wide affiliation examine of e-cigarette utilization within the 23andMe European buyer inhabitants.


An environment-wide affiliation examine of cigarette people who smoke in our database was additionally performed to find out if there are any elementary variations between analysis contributors that smoke e-cigarettes versus tobacco cigarettes. Our outcomes indicated that the 2 teams are rather more comparable than they’re totally different. Just like the e-cigarette outcomes, we noticed that people who smoke have been more likely to expertise despair and anxiousness. Each cigarette and e-cigarette customers additionally reported a decrease normal well being rating. Different fascinating correlations (see Determine 2.) have been that cigarette people who smoke are likely to drink extra alcohol  and are typically extra hot-headed. 


Determine 2. Setting-wide affiliation examine of cigarette utilization within the 23andMe European buyer inhabitants.



Desk 2. Odds ratios and their corresponding p-value for outcomes run in our environment-wide affiliation examine of cigarette utilization within the 23andMe European buyer inhabitants.


Though researchers uncovered correlations between smoking and sure demographic variables, it ought to be famous that correlation doesn’t equal causation. Proving that sure behaviors or demographics trigger one other is kind of troublesome; which means that we are able to’t say if somebody isn’t a morning particular person they should be an e-cigarette person. As a way to come to those conclusions, researchers should conduct years of in depth analysis consisting of quite a few rigorous trials and research. 

That’s to not say what we uncovered thus far is trivial, however quite we’re heading in the right direction. We’re nonetheless simply starting to grasp the long-term well being implications of e-cigarettes. Over time, nonetheless, with the facility of our massive analysis cohort and scientific group, we may uncover extra novel associations between e-cigarette use and long-term well being results. 

23andMe clients who want to contribute to our analysis efforts surrounding e-cigarette utilization can take the survey here. Not but a buyer? Discover out extra here.

  1. About Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, 28 Apr. 2021, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html. 
  2. Cobb, Nathan Ok., et al. “Novel Nicotine Delivery Systems and Public Health: The Rise of the ‘E-Cigarette.’American Journal of Public Well being, vol. 100, no. 12, 2010, pp. 2340–2342., doi:10.2105/ajph.2010.199281. 

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