Patterns of Electronic Cigarette Use and User Beliefs About Their Safety and Benefits: An Internet Survey

Drug Alcohol Rev. 2013 Mar;32(2):133-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00512.x. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Young Adult