electronic cigarettes

Researchers studied the behaviours, attitudes, and motivations behind the use of electronic cigarettes in both smokers and non-smokers in the United States.

Electronic Cigarettes are battery-powered cigarettes that have risen in popularity in the United States. It delivers aerosolized nicotine and substances to the user. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that electronic cigarettes are now the most popular tobacco product among teenagers.

Many issues of electronic cigarettes remain unclear. It is unknown whether electronic cigarettes can serve as an adequate aid to cease smoking, whether they can reduce smoking rates, and who will be more attracted to electronic cigarettes – former-smokers or never-smokers? Many recent studies have been conducted and show that while there is evidence to suggest that the motivation for electronic cigarette use is focused on quitting, some studies also suggest that use of an electronic cigarette may also be largely for fun or enjoyment purposes. This implies that there are likely many factors that are responsible for electronic cigarette use.

A recent American study that was conducted by Thomas Sussan and colleagues was aimed at investigating the behaviours, attitudes, and motivations that were driving the use of electronic cigarettes in adults. Their results were recently published in the journal BMC Public Health. This team conducted a survey in three different Baltimore area stores that sell electronic cigarettes. The surveys contained 43 questions and included 320 adults.

Based on responses, the participants were categorized into one of three groups based on traditional cigarette use: never-smokers, former smokers, and current smokers. Former smokers formed the vast majority of the respondents and reported a longer period of electronic cigarette use. Both former and current smokers reported that the primary motivation for electronic cigarette use was to aid in quitting smoking. Nearly half of these participants also reported that they planned to eventually quit both smoking and electronic cigarettes. Former smoker participants also indicated that the motivation for use was as a nicotine replacement. Former and current smokers also indicated that their respiratory health was enhanced and it was a result of electronic cigarette use. Those who have never smoked in general reported a lower prevalence of electronic cigarette use and the motivation for this group of participants was mostly for fun and enjoyment purposes.

This study gives insight into the central thoughts, reasons, and behaviours of smokers and non-smokers who use electronic cigarettes. It also seems to suggest that while smokers’ motivations to use electronic cigarettes is mainly to aid in quitting smoking and use as a nicotine replacement, never-smokers are a new merging demographic of electronic cigarette users that have different motivations such as enjoyment.

Written by Ingrid Qemo, BSc

Reference: Sussan, T. et al. (2017). Electronic cigarette use behaviors and motivations among smokers and non-smokers. BMC Public Health. 17:686.

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