Conference presentation: This study was presented at the European Conference on Tobacco or Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 28–30 March 2011.
Electronic cigarette: users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy
Article first published online: 27 JUL 2011
© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 106, Issue 11, pages 2017–2028, November 2011
How to Cite
Etter, J.-F. and Bullen, C. (2011), Electronic cigarette: users profile, utilization, satisfaction and perceived efficacy. Addiction, 106: 2017–2028. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03505.x
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 27 JUL 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 18 MAY 2011 05:50AM EST
- Submitted 8 February 2011; initial review completed 4 May 2011; final version accepted 11 May 2011
- electronic cigarette;
- electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS);
- tobacco use disorder
Aims To assess the profile, utilization patterns, satisfaction and perceived effects among users of electronic cigarettes (‘e-cigarettes’).
Design and Setting Internet survey in English and French in 2010.
Measurements Online questionnaire.
Participants Visitors of websites and online discussion forums dedicated to e-cigarettes and to smoking cessation.
Findings There were 3587 participants (70% former tobacco smokers, 61% men, mean age 41 years). The median duration of electronic cigarette use was 3 months, users drew 120 puffs/day and used five refills/day. Almost all (97%) used e-cigarettes containing nicotine. Daily users spent $33 per month on these products. Most (96%) said the e-cigarette helped them to quit smoking or reduce their smoking (92%). Reasons for using the e-cigarette included the perception that it was less toxic than tobacco (84%), to deal with craving for tobacco (79%) and withdrawal symptoms (67%), to quit smoking or avoid relapsing (77%), because it was cheaper than smoking (57%) and to deal with situations where smoking was prohibited (39%). Most ex-smokers (79%) feared they might relapse to smoking if they stopped using the e-cigarette. Users of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes reported better relief of withdrawal and a greater effect on smoking cessation than those using non-nicotine e-cigarettes.
Conclusions E-cigarettes were used much as people would use nicotine replacement medications: by former smokers to avoid relapse or as an aid to cut down or quit smoking. Further research should evaluate the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes for administration of nicotine and other substances, and for quitting and relapse prevention.