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.
© 2012 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.