Wednesday, August 22, 2012

E-Cigarettes Awareness and Use

American Legacy Foundation staff, led by Dr. Jennifer Pearson, reported two surveys gauging awareness, use and perceptions of e-cigarettes.  The research was published in the American Journal of Public Health (abstract here). 

One survey, the online KnowledgePanel, included 2,649 never, current and former smokers.  The other, the Legacy Longitudinal Smoker Cohort (LLSC), surveyed 3,658 current and former smokers.  Major findings appear in the table.

In both surveys, nearly 6 out of 10 smokers were aware of e-cigarettes – a higher percentage than among former smokers (42%) or never smokers (33%) in the KnowledgePanel survey.  However, only 6-11% of current smokers had used the devices; trial among former smokers was even lower.  Only 4% of smokers had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

E-Cigarette Awareness, Use and Perception of Harm
Never Smokers Former SmokersCurrent SmokersFormer SmokersCurrent Smokers
Ever Use0.8%2%11%3%6%
Less Harmful Than Cigarettes----71%--85%
Same/More Harmful----29%--15%

Among current smokers who were aware of e-cigarettes, 71-85% correctly believed they are less harmful than cigarettes.  The remainder, unfortunately, believed that e-cigarettes are just as or more harmful. 

The American Legacy Foundation “is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.”  In their introduction, the authors write that e-cigarettes “could act as a starter product for combustible cigarettes, especially among youths or young adults…”, but they offer no data on e-cigarette use among youth; even among adult never smokers, ever use is a minuscule 0.5%.

Dr. Pearson and colleagues suggest that e-cigarettes “may lure former smokers to return to nicotine dependence, delay cessation among current smokers, serve as a dual-use product, or enable individuals to avoid smoking restrictions.”  None of these concerns are supported by data.  There is no evidence that e-cigarettes “lure” former smokers into nicotine dependence.  Even if this did occur, it would not be a legitimate reason to deny current smokers access to them.  There is no proof that e-cigarettes delay cessation among current smokers.  In fact, Dr. Pearson writes that “The [KnowledgePanel] survey data suggested that some smokers who were interested in quitting were using [e-cigarettes] as cessation devices…” She asserts that this was “possibly discouraging the use of proven smoking cessation treatments…”  As I discussed several weeks ago (here), pharmaceutical nicotine products are “proven” to fail for 93% of smokers; this is enough to discourage their use.

Dr. Pearson and colleagues opine that, “Given the widespread availability, awareness, and use of [e-cigarettes] by millions of consumers, [they] should not be marketed until adequately tested and regulated by the FDA.”  In the coming months, the FDA is likely to issue regulations for e-cigarettes as tobacco products. 

Already, millions of smokers are aware of e-cigarettes; a smaller number have used them; and many have learned that vaping is vastly safer than – and can successfully replace – smoking.


Electronic Cigar Vaper said...

Some intriguing data you stated here. True, nicotine is one of the most addictive substance therefore heavy smokers find it extremely hard to give-up of smoking in just one go. It's also kind of a habitual process that makes it hard to give up cigar smoking. A reason for me to think why others say that e-cigs are closer as being a cessation product than any of the other pharma products out there. Also, though the possibility of e-cigs becoming a starter product for combustible cigarettes remain to be seen, it can't be blame on solely the product itself. I mean I started smoking at the age of 14 and there weren't ecigs around that time. It was because of the influence of an older friend that got me into it.. What I'm pointing out is that if only parents would be more hands-on on their child, such circumstances would be avoided. I too believe that it is ecigs are much safer than regular tobacco, so why hinder it's marketing attempts..?

Unknown said...

I smoked for 55 years, the last 20 of them 2 cartons a week.

I tried over the years the gum, the patch, the inhaler and hypnosis. NONE of them worked for more than a few days. The gum was nasty, the patch gave me waking hallucinations and the inhaler was so bad that words fail me. Hypnosis lasted a week and I was back on the cigarettes.

On 24 Feb 2011 after a lot of reading about e cigs I bought my first one, an Ego T kit and some e cig liquid. That day was a real revelation. I have not had a cigarette since and tomorrow it will be a year a half.

I have lowered my nic in the juice from 12mg at the start to 4mg now.

With the current research on nicotine I see no merit in going to zero. They are finding too many good things it does for the body.

I will never smoke a cigarette again. I feel so much better now, my lungs support walking briskly and for long periods again, I do not have repetitive sinus infections, I do not get sick, I do not cough. I am now 72 yrs old.

I firmly believe that the pharmaceutical companies are laying awake nights trying to find a way to stop e cigs from becoming mainstream to further line their pockets with NRT's that are ineffective for most of us and to be able to continue to sell their hideously expensive drugs to treat smokers diseases.

I also believe that the vitriol coming from the ALA, ACS, CDC, to name a very few, are all supported by funding from pharmaceutical companies.

Steve Vape said...

The legacy study is an excellent example of prohibitionists shifting gears. Previously, they could rely on the lack of solid data and the FDA's hit piece on ecigs to reinforce their views. Now that studies are starting to trickle out showing e-cigarettes are indeed much less harmful as cigarettes. Rather than seriously looking into whether or not e-cigarettes might be something viable to actually get people away from tobacco, they've taken another tact. Take existing and new data that doesn't agree with your dogma and somehow spin it to make things look the way you want.

This study is a good example, as well as other studies that showed ecig vapor having much lower levels of constituents than cigarettes (and environmental levels well below OSHA standards), simply removing the quantities and then saying, look there's nail polish in there!

I am not a tinfoil hat type here, but more logical explanations of these actions are starting to slip away, and following the money behind these groups starts to make one ask serious questions about the motivations driving these underhanded tactics.