Introduction: In 2016, the Finnish Tobacco Act was revised to harmonise e-cigarette regulations with the EU Tobacco Products Directive. Unlike before, the sale of nicotine-containing e-liquids was allowed while additional national regulations included, for example, a ban for other than unflavoured and tobacco-flavoured e-liquids. This study examines the correlates of e-cigarette use before and after the comprehensive regulatory change, and characteristics and correlates of flavoured e-cigarette use after the flavour ban in the general Finnish population.
Methods: Repeated cross-sectional population-based drug surveys for 15-69-year-olds in 2014 (n = 3485; 50% response rate) and in 2018 (n = 3229; 46%). Correlates of e-cigarette use were studied with logistic regression models.
Results: Current e-cigarette use remained infrequent (approximately 2%) and the correlates of e-cigarette use varied only slightly between the study years. In 2018, of past-year e-cigarette users (n = 316), 43% used unflavoured e-liquids, 24% used tobacco and 43% used other flavours, fruits being the most common. In univariate models, demographic variables, smoking and e-cigarette use-related factors were associated with flavoured e-cigarette use. In multivariable models, those who used e-cigarettes to experiment used unflavoured e-cigarettes more likely than other than tobacco flavours (odds ratio 3.00, 95% confidence interval 1.15-7.82).
Discussion and conclusions: In Finland, the regulated entry of nicotine-containing e-liquids to retail sales has not led to increased e-cigarette use in the general population. After the flavour ban, other than tobacco-flavoured e-cigarette use still occurs. The use of flavoured e-cigarettes is associated with reasons for e-cigarette use. Flavoured e-cigarette use and its correlates warrant further monitoring.
Keywords: electronic nicotine delivery systems; health policy; nicotine; smoking; tobacco.
© 2022 The Authors. Drug and Alcohol Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.