Electronic cigarettes as a smoking-cessation: tool results from an online survey

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Apr;40(4):472-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.12.006.


Background: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine without any combustion or smoke. These devices have generated much publicity among the smoking-cessation community and support from dedicated users; however, little is known about the efficacy of the device as a smoking-cessation tool.

Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation using a survey of smokers who had tried e-cigarettes.

Methods: Using as a sampling frame a cohort of all first-time purchasers of a particular brand of e-cigarettes during a 2-week period, a cross-sectional, online survey was conducted in 2010 to describe e-cigarette use patterns and their effectiveness as a smoking-cessation tool. There were 222 respondents, with a survey response rate of 4.5%. The primary outcome variable was the point prevalence of smoking abstinence at 6 months after initial e-cigarette purchase.

Results: The primary finding was that the 6-month point prevalence of smoking abstinence among the e-cigarette users in the sample was 31.0% (95% CI=24.8%, 37.2%). A large percentage of respondents reported a reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked (66.8%) and almost half reported abstinence from smoking for a period of time (48.8%). Those respondents using e-cigarettes more than 20 times per day had a quit rate of 70.0%. Of respondents who were not smoking at 6 months, 34.3% were not using e-cigarettes or any nicotine-containing products at the time.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that e-cigarettes may hold promise as a smoking-cessation method and that they are worthy of further study using more-rigorous research designs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotine