To Vape or Not To Vape? Preliminary Results from a Qualitative Survey of Smokers

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: A higher percentage of smokers have tried e-cigarettes in the UK compared to the U.S., especially among those who claimed they had tried to quit smoking. This difference is likely to be partly driven by public health pronouncements by UK authorities that non-combustible products are “far safer” than cigarettes. In contrast, U.S. authorities have been far more muted in their support for new non-combustible tobacco products. Those who experiment with e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to smoke less, independent of whether they're making a quit attempt.

In a sample of 487 smokers with 61.0 percent from London, 15.8 percent from Washington, DC and 23.2 percent from Philadelphia, the report finds smokers in the U.S. were almost half as likely to have experimented with e-cigarettes, with 21 percent of smokers in the U.S. trying vaping relative to 36 percent in the UK.

In the U.S., 87.5 percent of respondents said that e-cigarettes were no safer than regular cigarettes. In the UK, by contrast, only 23.4 percent said it was no safer than regular cigarettes. Of those who had not tried an e-cigarette, 18 percent cited cost and nearly 82 percent cited such products as being no safer than traditional cigarettes as the reason. The study finds that the use of e-cigarettes is highly correlated with the attempt to quit smoking.

Of those who tried e-cigarettes, 51.5 percent claimed that they now smoked less, another 8.8 percent claimed to either have completely stopped smoking, to rarely smoke or to smoke far less than before. Furthermore, 35.3 percent reported smoking the same and only about 4.4 percent claimed that they were smoking more.

Among those who had tried to quit smoking and who tried e-cigarettes, over 55 percent reported that they now smoke less, nearly 14 percent reported that they now smoke far less or stopped smoking, and 29 percent reported that they smoked the same. Fewer than 2 percent reported that they were smoking more. 

Read the full study here

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Smoking Among Those Who Have Tried E-Cigarettes, by Quit AttemptAEI

Findings:

  • Of those who tried e-cigarettes, 51.5 percent claimed that they now smoked less.
  • Among those who had tried to quit smoking and who tried e-cigarettes, over 55 percent reported that they now smoke less.
  • In a sample of smokers, 36 percent in the U.K. have tried e-cigarettes vs. just 21 percent in the U.S.