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


Correspondence to: Lynne Dawkins, School of Psychology, University of East London, Water Lane, Stratford, London E15 4LZ, UK. E-mail:



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 from September 2011 to May 2012.


Online questionnaire.


One thousand three hundred and forty-seven respondents from 33 countries (72% European), mean age 43 years, 70% male, 96% Causacian, 44% educated to degree level or above.


Seventy-four percent of participants reported not smoking for at least a few weeks since using the e-cigarette and 70% reported reduced urge to smoke. Seventy-two percent 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 (0 mg) 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 with 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).


E-cigarettes are used primarily for smoking cessation, but for a longer duration than nicotine replacement therapy, and users believe them to be safer than smoking.