Electronic cigarette: users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy

Addiction. 2011 Nov;106(11):2017-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03505.x. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Aims: To assess the profile, utilization patterns, satisfaction and perceived effects among users of electronic cigarettes ('e-cigarettes').

Design and setting: Internet survey in English and French in 2010.

Measurements: Online questionnaire.

Participants: Visitors of websites and online discussion forums dedicated to e-cigarettes and to smoking cessation.

Findings: There were 3587 participants (70% former tobacco smokers, 61% men, mean age 41 years). The median duration of electronic cigarette use was 3 months, users drew 120 puffs/day and used five refills/day. Almost all (97%) used e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Daily users spent $33 per month on these products. Most (96%) said the e-cigarette helped them to quit smoking or reduce their smoking (92%). Reasons for using the e-cigarette included the perception that it was less toxic than tobacco (84%), to deal with craving for tobacco (79%) and withdrawal symptoms (67%), to quit smoking or avoid relapsing (77%), because it was cheaper than smoking (57%) and to deal with situations where smoking was prohibited (39%). Most ex-smokers (79%) feared they might relapse to smoking if they stopped using the e-cigarette. Users of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes reported better relief of withdrawal and a greater effect on smoking cessation than those using non-nicotine e-cigarettes.

Conclusions: E-cigarettes were used much as people would use nicotine replacement medications: by former smokers to avoid relapse or as an aid to cut down or quit smoking. Further research should evaluate the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes for administration of nicotine and other substances, and for quitting and relapse prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Electronics*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers / statistics & numerical data
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Media
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / drug therapy
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology


  • Nicotine