Introduction: There is strong interest in the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) globally. This paper is the first to report population-based data on ever-use and current use of e-cigarettes among New Zealand adults. The paper also extends previous international studies by exploring the reasons for trying e-cigarettes, ever users' recall of brand(s) they have ever tried, and current users' recall of their current brand.
Methods: The Health and Lifestyles Survey (HLS) is a biennial face-to-face in-house survey of New Zealand adults aged 15 years or over. In 2014, 2594 participants completed the survey.
Results: Ever-use and current use of e-cigarettes were 13.1% and 0.8% respectively. Tobacco smoking status predicted the use of e-cigarettes, with current smokers reporting the highest rate of use (50% ever-use and 4% current use). Among current smokers who had tried an e-cigarette, curiosity (49%) and desire to quit smoking (37%) were the most common reasons for trying. About half of the ever-users could not name any of the brand(s) they had ever tried, and one-fifth of current users could not name their current brand.
Conclusions: Compared with other countries, New Zealand has a high rate of ever-use. Among current smokers, one in two had tried an e-cigarette. However, progression to regular use appears to be rare. The finding that 18% of current e-cigarette users could not name their current brand highlights the importance of investigating users' knowledge of e-cigarettes in general and assessing the factors that influence brand choice such as advertising, price, and accessibility.
Keywords: Cessation; E-cigarettes; ENDS; Electronic cigarettes; Nicotine; Smoking.
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