Patterns of Use of Vaping Products Among Smokers: Findings from the 2016–2018 ITC New Zealand Surveys

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: The use of e-cigarettes among smokers and ex-smokers in New Zealand is increasing in prevalence, with most smokers and ex-smokers using e-cigarettes to help them quit or to reduce their smoking. These findings suggest that e-cigarettes support quitting among a significant number of people who smoke in New Zealand.

Trial and use of e-cigarettes were common among New Zealand smokers and quitters, and increased from 2016–17 to 2018. Most smokers reported that they use e-cigarettes to help them quit (75%) or to cut down on their smoking (87%). Ex-smokers who used e-cigarettes were more likely (87%) to state that the reason they used e-cigarettes was to help them quit smoking.

Current and daily use of e-cigarettes was substantially more prevalent among ex-smokers. A high prevalence of daily use among ex-smokers (higher than current smokers) was also found. At least monthly use was 29% for ex-smokers vs. 20% for smokers while differences in daily use were more substantial (23% vs. 8% respectively).

Current users (at least monthly) were asked about their reasons for using e-cigarettes or vaping. The most frequent responses were to quit smoking and save money on cigarettes.

Around half of all participants (46%) thought e-cigarettes were less harmful than smoking cigarettes, with most of the remainder (33%) thinking that vaping was equally harmful. However, just over three-quarters (76%) of daily users and 68% of weekly/monthly users thought e-cigarettes were less harmful.

The findings regarding reasons for use and beliefs about vaping suggest that e-cigarettes should be part of any public health stop smoking initiatives.

Read the full study HERE.