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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    • "To understand the relative importance of the reasons for e-cigarette use, it is necessary to require respondents to consider a trade-off between their reasons for using e-cigarettes. Here, a few studies have asked respondents to select the primary reason they started using e-cigarettes (Goniewicz et al., 2013; Tackett et al., 2015). We however , are the first to pose the question as a direct trade-off between two fundamental economic motivations and to provide information on the strength of this trade-off. "
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    • "E-cigarettes appear to be much safer than cigarettes, but further studies are required to fully assess their safety for long-term use (Caponnetto et al., 2012). Concerns regarding the possible adverse effects have been raised (Etter, 2010; McQueen et al., 2011; Chen, 2013; Goniewicz et al., 2013). These effects include irritation of the mouth and throat that may diminish over time, indicating a transient effect (Polosa et al., 2011). "
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    • "In the UK alone, it is estimated that there are 2.1 million adult e-cigarette users (Action on Smoking and Health, 2014), with usage growing rapidly from 700,000 in 2012 (Kmietowicz, 2014). Internationally, studies have found utilisation higher in current and former smokers than never smokers (Etter and Bullen, 2011; Pearson, Richardson, Niaura, Vallone and Abrams, 2012; Brown et al, 2014; Harrington et al, 2014; Giovenco, Lewis and Delnevo, 2014; Ruther et al, 2014; Tan and Bigman, 2014) and a large proportion of users are men (Etter and Bullen, 2011; Goniewicz et al, 2013; Etter, 2010, Siegel, Tanwar and Wood, 2011; Foulds, Veldheer and Berg, 2011; Ruther et al, 2014). "

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