(Un)holy Smokes? Religion and Traditional and E-Cigarette Use in the United States

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This study employed national cross-sectional survey data from the 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (n = 1578 to 1735) to model traditional cigarette and e-cigarette use as a function of religious affiliation, general religiosity, biblical literalism, religious struggles, and the sense of divine control. Although the odds of abstaining from cigarettes and e-cigarettes were comparable for conservative Protestants and non-affiliates, conservative Protestants were more likely to cut down on cigarettes and e-cigarettes during the pandemic. Religiosity increased the odds of abstaining from cigarettes (not e-cigarettes) and reduced pandemic consumption of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Biblical literalism was unrelated to abstaining from cigarettes and pandemic changes in cigarette use; however, biblical literalists were more likely to cut e-cigarette use during the pandemic. While the sense of divine control was unrelated to abstaining from cigarettes and e-cigarettes, these beliefs increased the odds of cessation from traditional and e-cigarette use. Finally, our religious struggles index was unrelated to smoking behavior. Our study is among the first to report any association between religion and lower e-cigarette use.


This article was originally published in Journal of Religion and Health in 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-022-01721-3

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