Aims: To characterize e-cigarette use, users and effects in a sample of Electronic Cigarette Company (TECC) and Totally Wicked E-Liquid (TWEL) users.
Design and setting: Online survey hosted at the University of East London with links from TECC/TWEL websites from September 2011 to May 2012.
Measurements: Online questionnaire.
Participants: One thousand three hundred and forty-seven respondents from 33 countries (72% European), mean age 43 years, 70% male, 96% Causasian, 44% educated to degree level or above.
Findings: Seventy-four percent of participants reported not smoking for at least a few weeks since using the e-cigarette and 70% reported reduced urge to smoke. Seventy-two percent of participants used a 'tank' system, most commonly, the eGo-C (23%). Mean duration of use was 10 months. Only 1% reported exclusive use of non-nicotine (0 mg) containing liquid. E-cigarettes were generally considered to be satisfying to use; elicit few side effects; be healthier than smoking; improve cough/breathing; and be associated with low levels of craving. Among ex-smokers, 'time to first vape' was significantly longer than 'time to first cigarette' (t1104 = 11.16, P < 0.001) suggesting a lower level of dependence to e-cigarettes. Ex-smokers reported significantly greater reduction in craving than current smokers (χ(2) 1 = 133.66, P < 0.0007) although few other differences emerged between these groups. Compared with males, females opted more for chocolate/sweet flavours (χ(2) 1 = 16.16, P < 0.001) and liked the e-cigarette because it resembles a cigarette (χ(2) 3 = 42.65, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: E-cigarettes are used primarily for smoking cessation, but for a longer duration than nicotine replacement therapy, and users believe them to be safer than smoking.
© 2013 Society for the Study of Addiction.