Electronic Cigarettes (E Cigarettes) as Potential Harm Reduction Products

Results of An Online Survey of E-Cigarette Users

 

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as potential tobacco harm reduction products: Results of an online survey of e-cigarette users.

Produced by E Cigarette Direct and the TobaccoHarmReduction.org Project at University of Alberta School of Public Health.

 

Authors:

Karyn Heavner, PhD, MSPH (Corresponding author)
University of Alberta, School of Public Health
karynkh@aol.com

James Dunworth, BA, PGCE
E Cigarette Direct
james.dunworth@ecigarettedirect.co.uk

Paul Bergen, MSc, MLIS
University of Alberta, School of Public Health
pbergen1@gmail.com

Catherine Nissen, BSc
University of Alberta, School of Public Health
cmnissen@gmail.com

Carl V. Phillips, PhD, MPP
University of Alberta, School of Public Health
cvphilo@gmail.com

Abstract

"Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which surged in popularity in 2008, may be the most
promising product for tobacco harm reduction yet."

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which surged in popularity in 2008, may be the most promising product for tobacco harm reduction yet. E-cigarettes deliver a nicotine vapor without the combustion products that are responsible for nearly all of smoking’s health effects. Other than anecdotal accounts, there is little information about who uses e-cigarettes, and whether people who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes experience changes in symptoms caused by smoking. This pilot online survey, conducted by a UK-based online e-cigarette merchant (E Cigarette Direct), investigated e-cigarette use for smoking cessation and changes in health status and smoking caused symptoms. A convenience sample (n=303) was enrolled by e-mail and links on various blogs and forums in May-June 2009. The data were analyzed by independent university researchers at the tobaccoharmreduction.org project.

All respondents previously smoked and 91% had attempted to stop smoking before trying e- cigarettes. Most respondents resided in the USA (72%) and 21% were in Europe. About half (55%) were 31-50, while 32% were >50 years old. Most (79%) of the respondents had been using e-cigarettes for <6 months and reported using them as a complete (79%) or partial (17%) replacement

"...most people who substituted e-cigarettes for even some of their cigarettes experienced improvements [in health]."

for, rather than in addition to (4%), cigarettes. The majority of respondents reported that their general health (91%), smoker’s cough (97%), ability to exercise (84%), and sense of smell (80%) and taste (73%) were better since using e-cigarettes and none reported that these were worse. Although people whose e-cigarette use completely replaced smoking were more likely to experience improvements in health and smoking caused symptoms, most people who substituted e-cigarettes for even some of their cigarettes experienced improvements.

These are highly motivated and passionate e-cigarette users who may have different experiences

"...the results still suggest that very few e-cigarette users are not using them to replace cigarettes."

than average e-cigarette users or smokers, and thus the estimates cannot be extrapolated to all smokers or e-cigarette users. However, the results still suggest that very few e-cigarette users are not using them to replace cigarettes and there are many switchers and current smokers who could have the reported experience. Unfortunately e-cigarettes have been banned in some jurisdictions (e.g., Canada, Victoria (Australia)) where switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes was documented. The lack of available and legal e-cigarettes may cause some users to resume smoking.

The full study can be accessed from this page: Working Paper on Electronic Cigarettes as a Potential Harm Reduction Device.

Use of This Study


Anyone can use this report in return to a link back to the source. None of the material in the abstract or the study may be changed in any way without the permission of either E Cigarete Direct or the Tobacco Harm Reduction Project.

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