Preferred flavors and reasons for e-cigarette use and discontinued use among never, current, and former smokers

Int J Public Health. 2016 Mar;61(2):225-36. doi: 10.1007/s00038-015-0764-x. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


Objectives: To compare e-cigarette flavors preferred and reasons for use and discontinued use across never, current, and former e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers.

Methods: We recruited 1567 participants aged 18-34 years through Facebook ads targeting tobacco users and nonusers in August 2014 to complete an online survey. We assessed tobacco use, preferred flavors, and reasons for e-cigarette use and discontinued use.

Results: Our sample was 49 % male, 87 % White; 56 % current cigarette smokers; and 53 % e-cigarette users. Current e-cigarette users used an average of 20.9 days in the past 30 (SD = 11.7) and 55.2 puffs/day (SD = 37.3). Compared to never and current smokers, former smokers used e-cigarettes more frequently (p's <0.001). Among users and nonusers, the most preferred was fruit flavors, and the most commonly reported reason for e-cigarette use was "they might be less harmful than cigarettes". The most endorsed reason for discontinued e-cigarette use was "using other tobacco products instead". Never, current, and former smokers had distinct reasons for e-cigarette use and discontinued use and differed in flavor preferences.

Conclusions: Regulating marketing and flavors may impact e-cigarette uptake by young adults.

Keywords: E-cigarettes; Harm reduction; Smoking cessation; Tobacco control; Tobacco marketing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Flavoring Agents