‘Vaping’ profiles and preferences: an online survey of electronic cigarette users

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Dawkins, Lynne ; Turner, John J.D. ; Roberts, Amanda D.L. ; Soar, Kirstie (2013)

Aims to characterize e-cigarette use, users, and effects, in a sample of Electronic Cigarette Company (TECC) and Totally Wicked E-Liquid (TWEL) users. Design and Setting Online survey hosted at the University of East London with links from TECC/TWEL websites between September 2011 to May 2012. Measurements Online questionnaire. Participants 1347 respondents from 33 countries (72% European), mean age 43 years, 70% male, 96% Causacian, 44% educated to degree level or above. Findings 74% reported not smoking for at least a few weeks since using the e-cigarette and 70% reported reduced urge to smoke. 72% of participants used a ‘tank’ system, most commonly, the eGo-C (23%). Mean duration of use was 10 months. Only 1% reported exclusive use of non-nicotine (0mg) containing liquid. E-cigarettes were generally considered to: be satisfying to use; elicit few side effects; be healthier than smoking; improve cough/breathing; and be associated with low levels of craving. Among ex-smokers, ‘time to first vape’ was significantly longer than ‘time to first cigarette’ (t1104=11.16, P <0.001) suggesting a lower level of dependence to e-cigarettes. Ex-smokers reported significantly greater reduction in craving than current smokers (χ21 =133.66, P<0.0007) although few other differences emerged between these groups. Compared to males, females opted more for chocolate/sweet flavours (χ21 =16.16, P< 0.001) and liked the e-cigarette because it resembles a cigarette(χ23 = 42.65, P< 0.001). Conclusions E-cigarettes tend to be used for smoking cessation but for a longer duration than NRT and were generally regarded as efficacious. Future research should focus on possible long-term health risks, abuse liability and cessation efficacy.
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