Deakin University

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Electronic Cigarette Usage Patterns and Perceptions in Adult Australians

journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-13, 23:58 authored by AN Larcombe, EK Chivers, Rachel HuxleyRachel Huxley, AW Musk, PJ Franklin, BJ Mullins
Despite their increasing popularity, and Australia’s unique regulatory environment, how and why Australian adults use e-cigarettes and their perceptions of their safety, efficacy and regulation have not been extensively reported before. In this study, we screened 2217 adult Australians with the aim of assessing these questions in a sample of current or former e-cigarette users. A total of 505 out of 2217 respondents were current or former e-cigarette users, with only these respondents completing the full survey. Key findings of this survey included the high proportion of respondents who indicated they were currently using e-cigarettes (307 out of 2217 = 13.8%), and the high proportion of current e-cigarette users that were also smokers (74.6%). The majority of respondents used e-liquids containing nicotine (70.3%), despite it being illegal in Australia without a prescription, and the majority bought their devices and liquids in Australia (65.7%). Respondents reported using e-cigarettes in a variety of places, including inside the home, inside public places (where it is illegal to smoke tobacco cigarettes), and around other people—which has implications for second and third hand exposures. A significant proportion of current e-cigarette users (30.6%) thought that e-cigarettes were completely safe to use long-term, although in general, there was a large amount of uncertainty/ambivalence with respect to perceptions of e-cigarette safety and efficacy as smoking cessation tools. This study shows that e-cigarette use is common in Australia, and that appropriate dissemination of unbiased research findings on their safety and efficacy in smoking cessation is urgently required.