November 27, 2014

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Evidence grows that ecigs are being taken up by never smokers: That's not harm reduction

The assumption among e-cigarette enthusiasts has been that they would be a replacement for cigarettes or a cessation device and that use by never-smokers would be minimal. Two papers were recently published at add to the existing evidence (described here, here and here):
Janna Kinnunen and colleagues published "Awareness and determinants of electronic cigarette use among Finnish adolescents in 2013: a population-based study" in Tobacco Control.  Like other studies of adolescents (and adults, for that matter), they found very high levels of dual use with cigarettes.  Snus users were also significantly more likely to use e-cigarettes.  In contrast to our earlier studies of Korean and US adolescents, they found that Finnish adolescents who were using e-cigarettes were less interested in quitting cigarettes than adolescents who did not use e-cigarettes.
Most important, they found that 8.3% of adolescent ever e-cigarette users had never smoked a cigarette.
Silvano Gallus and colleagues published "E-cigarette awareness, use, and harm perceptions in Italy: a national representative survey" of people over 15 years old in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.  Their bottom line:  "Three out of 4 e-cigarette users reported to have favorably modified their smoking habit; however, 90% of users did not quit smoking as a consequence of starting vaping e-cigarettes. Almost 900,000 Italian never-smokers, particularly young never-smokers, have tried this new and potentially addictive product at least once."

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