In 2012, a survey of 973 smokers in Prague found 86% had heard of e-cigs, 26% had tried them and 7% were using them regularly. Satisfaction ratings were ‘as expected’ or ‘better than expected’ for over half of those questioned. Expectations were high and the UK was about to see a doubling in electronic cigarette use.
With a reported downturn in vaping sales in many countries, what is the current prevailing attitude of smokers towards vaping?
The answer isn’t positive, according to Health News: “Smokers were generally negative in their reaction towards e-cigarettes, possibly due to the widely documented uncertainties about safety and effectiveness.”
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have been looking at 320 smokers accessing the cessation service on Merseyside. The research sought to examine what the smokers thought of electronic cigarettes and if they preferred to use them instead of traditional NRT products.
51.3% admitted to having used a vaping device while 45.5% considered themselves to be current users.
Smokers appear undecided towards e-cigarettes, possibly due to the widely documented uncertainties about safety and effectiveness in helping smokers to successfully break their addiction. Some also viewed using e-cigarettes as an extension of smoking and perceived them as an inferior tool for helping to quit smoking.
Frances Sherratt, lead author from the University of Liverpool, said: “Our results show that electronic cigarettes are commonly used by smokers wanting to quit and seek help through the Stop Smoking Services. Many smokers also viewed e-cigarettes negatively or indifferently as a way to stop smoking. This study highlights the need for better education regarding e-cigarettes, to enable smokers to make balanced, informed smoking cessation treatment decisions to help them quit.”
Some participants demonstrated that they were misinformed of or misunderstood the risks associated with e-cigarettes. Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation who helped fund the research, said: “Lingering issues around their safety and long-term health impact also continue to affect public opinion.”
Dr Karen Kennedy, Director of the National Cancer Research Institute, said: “This research provides an interesting insight into how many, and why, smokers use e-cigarettes. Tobacco is the single biggest cause of preventable cancer deaths, so understanding how smokers can be better helped in breaking the addiction is extremely valuable in reducing cancer deaths.”
"This study highlights the need for better education regarding e-cigarettes, to enable smokers to make balanced, informed smoking cessation treatment decisions to help them quit," added Frances.