Patterns of electronic cigarette use and user beliefs about their safety and benefits: An Internet survey

UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
Drug and Alcohol Review (Impact Factor: 1.55). 09/2012; 32(2). DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00512.x
Source: PubMed


Introduction and aims:
As the popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) increases, it is becoming important to find out more about the characteristics of e-cigarette users, why and how they use the product and whether e-cigarettes are used exclusively or in combination with conventional cigarettes. The objective of this study was to investigate patterns and effects of e-cigarette use and user beliefs about e-cigarette safety and benefits.

Design and methods:
E-cigarette users in Poland were recruited online and asked to participate in a web-based survey. The participants provided information on their smoking history, patterns of e-cigarette use, beliefs and attitudes regarding the product and information on concurrent use of conventional cigarettes.

The survey was completed by 179 e-cigarette users. Almost all participants used e-cigarettes daily. E-cigarettes were primarily used to quit smoking or to reduce the harm associated with smoking (both 41%), and were successful in helping the surveyed users to achieve these goals with 66% not smoking conventional cigarettes at all and 25% smoking under five cigarettes a day. Most participants (82%) did not think that e-cigarettes were completely safe, but thought that they were less dangerous than conventional cigarettes. Sixty percent believed that e-cigarettes were addictive, but less so than conventional cigarettes.

Discussion and conclusions:
The participants primarily used e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking aid or as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, and the majority reported that they successfully stopped smoking. More data on e-cigarette safety and its efficacy in harm-reduction and smoking cessation are needed.

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Available from: Peter Hajek, Apr 09, 2015
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    • "Although they usually deliver less nicotine than cigarettes, they have been found to alleviate craving and cigarette withdrawal symptoms [9-11]. Several surveys report that e-cigarette users consider the product a satisfactory replacement for cigarettes and an effective stop-smoking treatment [12-15]. It is therefore not surprising that health professionals who support smokers to stop are being asked to provide information on e-cigarettes [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Use of e-cigarettes (inhalable vapour producing battery powered devices that aim to simulate tobacco cigarettes), is rising in a number of countries, but as yet none of these products are regulated as medicinal devices or available as smoking cessation treatments. Smokers seeking support from health professionals to stop smoking are interested in e-cigarettes and may be buying them to aid a quit attempt. Determining what smokers are asking, and what health professionals think about these products may have implications for smoking treatment services in a number of countries. Methods Stop smoking service advisors, managers and commissioners in the United Kingdom were asked to take part in two surveys on e-cigarettes. Data was analysed from 587 practitioners who completed a survey in 2011 and 705 practitioners who completed a repeat survey in 2013. Responses to multiple choice questions and free text comments were analysed. Results Responding practitioners reported that interest in, and use of, e-cigarettes is growing among adults seeking help to stop smoking in the UK. In 2013 91% of respondents reported that interest in e-cigarettes had grown in the past year and whilst in 2011, 2% of respondents reported a ‘quarter to a half’ of their clients saying that they were regularly using e-cigarettes, by 2013 this had increased to 23.5% (p < .001). Responding practitioners’ views towards e-cigarettes became more positive between the first and second surveys (15% strongly agreed/agreed in 2011 that ‘e-cigarettes are a good thing’ rising to 26% in 2013). However, they continued to have concerns about the products. In particular, analysis of free text responses suggested practitioners were unsure about safety or efficacy for smoking cessation, and were worried that smokers may become dependent on the products. Practitioners were also aware of the potential of e-cigarettes to undermine smokers’ willingness to use evidence-based methods to stop, and to challenge policies aiming to denormalise tobacco smoking. Conclusions Health professionals are asking for reliable and accurate information on e-cigarettes to convey to smokers who want to quit. Randomized controlled trials and ongoing surveillance of e-cigarette use and its consequences for smoking cessation rates and smoking treatment services are required.
    Tobacco Induced Diseases 08/2014; 12(1):13. DOI:10.1186/1617-9625-12-13 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    • "Most studies on the use of ECIGs as an aid to smoking cessation have reported on perceptions of ECIG use to quit smoking. Data from several studies show that many ECIG users surveyed do use ECIGs to quit smoking (Foulds et al., 2011; Dawkins et al., 2013; Goniewicz et al., 2013; Vickerman et al., 2013) and/or to reduce the use of tobacco cigarettes (Kralikova et al., 2013). However, surveys of ECIG users may be biased because they recruit from Web sites frequented by ECIG enthusiasts, and results are based on self-report (Odum et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This clinical case conference discusses 3 cases of patients using electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes, also referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems or "e-cigarettes," generally consist of a power source (usually a battery) and a heating element (commonly referred to as an atomizer) that vaporize a solution (e-liquid). The user inhales the resulting vapor. E-liquids contain humectants such as propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and usually, but not always, nicotine. Each patient's information is an amalgamation of actual patients and is presented and then followed by a discussion of clinical issues.
    Journal of Addiction Medicine 07/2014; 8(4):234-240. DOI:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000043 · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    • "In one study, vapors were generated from 12 different brands of e-cigarettes and analyzed for 4 groups of common cigarette smoke toxicants (carbonyls, volatile organic compounds, TSNAs, and metals). All 4 toxicant groups were detected in ECIG vapor , but the levels of the toxicants present ranged from 9 to 450 times lower than conventional cigarette smoke, and in many instances the toxicant levels from ECIG vapor were comparable with trace levels generated by the nicotine inhaler (Goniewicz et al., 2013a, 2013b; Table 1). Overall, the extant "
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    ABSTRACT: Electronic cigarettes (ECIGs), also referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems or "e-cigarettes," generally consist of a power source (usually a battery) and heating element (commonly referred to as an atomizer) that vaporizes a solution (e-liquid). The user inhales the resulting vapor. Electronic cigarettes have been increasing in popularity since they were introduced into the US market in 2007. Many questions remain about these products, and limited research has been conducted. This review describes the available research on what ECIGs are, effects of use, survey data on awareness and use, and the utility of ECIGs to help smokers quit using tobacco cigarettes. This review also describes arguments for and against ECIGs and concludes with steps to move research on ECIGs forward.
    Journal of Addiction Medicine 07/2014; 8(4):223-233. DOI:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000049 · 1.76 Impact Factor
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