E-cigarette use in Canada: prevalence and patterns of use in a regulated market

BMJ Open. 2015 Aug 26;5(8):e007971. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007971.


Objective: Canada is among the few countries in which e-cigarettes containing nicotine are prohibited. To date, there is little evidence on the prevalence and patterns of use of e-cigarettes in markets with product bans. The current study examines e-cigarette use among a sample of non-smokers and smokers in Canada.

Design: Online cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Conducted in October 2013 using a commercial panel of Canadians from Global Market Insite, Inc (GMI).

Participants: In total, 1095 Canadians were included in the analysis: 311 non-smokers aged 16-24 years (younger non-smokers), 323 smokers aged 16-24 years (younger smokers) and 461 smokers 25 years and older (older smokers).

Primary and secondary outcome measures: E-cigarette ever and current use, types of products used, and reasons for use.

Results: Approximately 79% of younger non-smokers, 82% of younger smokers and 81% of older smokers were aware of e-cigarettes. Ever trial of e-cigarettes was reported by 10% of younger non-smokers, 42% of younger smokers and 27% of older smokers. Moreover, current use of an e-cigarette, which was defined as use in the last 30 days, was reported by 0.3% of younger non-smokers, 18% of younger smokers and 10% of older smokers. Among those who had ever tried an e-cigarette, approximately 10% of younger non-smokers, 46% of younger smokers and 43% of older smokers reported trying an e-cigarette that contained nicotine. The most popular e-cigarette flavours were fruit followed by menthol, and the most common reason for using e-cigarettes was to help them quit smoking.

Conclusions: In the context of previous research, it appears that the prevalence of e-cigarette trial has increased in Canada. Although a considerable proportion of non-smokers have tried e-cigarettes, current use is almost entirely concentrated among smokers. Further research should be conducted to monitor e-cigarette use by Canadians.


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult