Electronic cigarette use among adult population: a cross-sectional study in Barcelona, Spain (2013-2014)

BMJ Open. 2014 Aug 25;4(8):e005894. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005894.


Objective: This study seeks to analyse the prevalence and correlates of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use, purchase location and satisfaction with its use in a sample of the general population of the city of Barcelona, Spain.

Design, setting and participants: We used participants from a longitudinal study of a representative sample of the adult (≥16 years old) population of Barcelona (336 men and 400 women). The field work was conducted between May 2013 and February 2014. We computed the prevalence, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and their corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results: The prevalence of ever e-cigarette use was 6.5% (95% CI 4.7% to 8.3%): 1.6% current use, 2.2% past use and 2.7% only e-cigarette experimentation. 75% (95% CI 62.8% to 87.3%) of ever e-cigarette users were current cigarette smokers at the moment of the interview. E-cigarette use was more likely among current smokers (OR=54.57; 95% CI 7.33 to 406.38) and highly dependent cigarette smokers (OR=3.96; 95% CI 1.60 to 9.82). 62.5% of the ever users charged their e-cigarettes with nicotine with 70% of them obtaining the liquids with nicotine in a specialised shop. 39.6% of ever e-cigarette users were not satisfied with their use, a similar percentage of not satisfied expressing the smokers (38.9%) and there were no statistically significant differences in the satisfaction between the users of e-cigarettes with and without nicotine.

Conclusions: E-cigarette use is strongly associated with current smoking (dual use) and most users continue to be addicted to nicotine. Six out of 10 e-cigarette users preferred devices that deliver nicotine. The satisfaction with e-cigarette use is very low.

Keywords: EPIDEMIOLOGY; PUBLIC HEALTH; e-cigarettes; electronic cigarettes; electronic nicotine delivery system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco Use Disorder
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotine