Current Issue - February 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 2


  1. 2024;27;E263-E267Electronic Cigarette (E-Cig) Use in the Chronic Pain Population
    Cross-sectional Survey
    John Maclean, BS, Skylar Remick, ., Jin Woo Shim, MD, Anil Chakravorty, BS, and Chong Kim, MD.

BACKGROUND: Since electronic cigarettes (E-Cigs) were introduced to the United States (US) in 2007 its use has increased. Like other tobacco products, E-Cigs too pose health risks. Studies have shown a correlation between pain and tobacco use, with the association being bidirectional. However, there is limited data on the effect of E-Cig use on chronic pain, as well as its association with opioid use.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the use of tobacco products, including E-Cigs in a chronic pain population.

STUDY DESIGN: This study was designed as a cross sectional survey.

SETTING: This study was set in an urban academic teaching center.

METHODS: After IRB approval, surveys of established chronic pain patients were conducted over 4 months. The survey and results were anonymous, without the collection of any identifiable information. The adult patients who had been treated in the pain practice for over 3 months were included in this study. The survey collected the patients’ age, gender, history of tobacco usage, cigarette smoking, E-Cig and opioid use.

RESULTS: A total of 312 patients were surveyed. 198 women (63.5%) and 114 men (36.5%). The average age was 58.2; ~59 years for men and ~58 years for women. Eighty-four patients (26.9%) were managing pain using chronic opioids; 46 women and 38 men. Nine women (4.5%) had tried E-Cigs in the past, but none (0%) were active users. Eighteen men (15.8%) had tried E-Cigs in the past with 9 (7.8%) being active users. Among the opioid managed patients, 6 (9.1%) had and were active users of E-Cigs and all 6 were men (20%).

LIMITATIONS: The anonymous results collected through the survey may not be accurate as they cannot be validated. In addition to the small sample size, the entire study population is from an urban academic center which may not be generalizable to all chronic pain patients. Finally, the study does not evaluate the impact of tobacco or E-Cig use on pain level or functional status.

CONCLUSION: In this study of chronic pain patients, cigarette smoking and E-Cig use was similar to the reported use in the general adult population in the US. The study showed a strong correlation between tobacco use, especially cigarettes and E-Cigs, and opioid use. As the use of E-Cigs becomes more mainstream, the association between E-Cig use, chronic pain, and opioid use should be monitored.

KEY WORDS: Tobacco use, electronic cigarettes, E-Cig, E-cigarette, opioid use, chronic pain