e-Cigarette awareness, use, and harm perceptions in US adults

Am J Public Health. 2012 Sep;102(9):1758-66. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300526. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Abstract

Objectives: We estimated e-cigarette (electronic nicotine delivery system) awareness, use, and harm perceptions among US adults.

Methods: We drew data from 2 surveys conducted in 2010: a national online study (n = 2649) and the Legacy Longitudinal Smoker Cohort (n = 3658). We used multivariable models to examine e-cigarette awareness, use, and harm perceptions.

Results: In the online survey, 40.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 37.3, 43.1) had heard of e-cigarettes, with awareness highest among current smokers. Utilization was higher among current smokers (11.4%; 95% CI = 9.3, 14.0) than in the total population (3.4%; 95% CI = 2.6, 4.2), with 2.0% (95% CI = 1.0, 3.8) of former smokers and 0.8% (95% CI = 0.35, 1.7) of never-smokers ever using e-cigarettes. In both surveys, non-Hispanic Whites, current smokers, young adults, and those with at least a high-school diploma were most likely to perceive e-cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes.

Conclusions: Awareness of e-cigarettes is high, and use among current and former smokers is evident. We recommend product regulation and careful surveillance to monitor public health impact and emerging utilization patterns, and to ascertain why, how, and under what conditions e-cigarettes are being used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Nicotine