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; School of Pharmacy and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland.
Drug and Alcohol Review (Impact Factor: 1.55). 09/2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00512.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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. RESULTS: 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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