A sample of 208 people aged 18-21 was used to create a correlation between childhood maltreatment and e-cigarette use, and explored the potential role of impulsivity in linking childhood maltreatment to e-cigarette use via a series of models controlling for demographic characteristics. Other papers have claimed that smoking is caused by childhood maltreatment but this is the first to claim a link between nicotine vapor and child abuse.
"Young adults exposed to [childhood maltreatment] are at risk for developing addictive behaviors, including nicotine dependence. Empirically based knowledge about the pathways or mechanisms linking [childhood maltreatment] to e-cigarette use would increase the success of prevention and intervention efforts targeted for this highly vulnerable population," the study says.
In addition to finding childhood maltreatment is associated with e-cigarette use, the authors say that childhood maltreatment was also related to "negative urgency" -- or the tendency to engage in impulsive risky behavior in response to intense negative emotions.
"Those who have experienced childhood maltreatment may be at particular risk of using e-cigarettes, as these experiences have been linked to future nicotine dependence," said Sunny Shin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Social Work and the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine.
The paper has numerous confounders, which the authors acknowledge, and can only be affirmed using valid longitudinal designs, more representative samples, and surveys which determine measures of motives to use e-cigarettes.