The American Journal of Public Health as published the findings of a study to evaluate e-cigarette perception and use among Americans. The study which involved surveys and subsequent analysis is credited to many individuals with multiple organizations including The Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy, the Department of Health, Behavior and Society; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Department of Research and Evaluation, American Legacy Foundation. The American Legacy Foundation may ring a bell from our previous posts including the panel about e-cigarettes they put together sometime ago along with a few honorable mentions.
The abstract of the study can be found at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300526 and a full copy of: e-Cigarette Awareness, Use, and Harm Perceptions in US Adults can also be ordered.
The study was an amalgamation of two surveys conducted in 2010 asking questions about awareness, use, and perceived harm among the general population as well as current/former smokers. The basic findings from the abstract are not surprising. About 40% of the population has heard of e-cigarettes, with the highest percentage coming from smokers. Usage of electronic cigarettes was also much higher among smokers than compared to the total population.
From these surveys; one national online study with a sample of 2649 and the Legacy Longitudinal Smoker Cohort with a sample of 3658 here is the conclusion:
Awareness of e-cigarettes is high, and use among current and former smokers is evident. We recommend product regulation and careful surveillance to monitor public health impact and emerging utilization patterns, and to ascertain why, how, and under what conditions e-cigarettes are being used.
I agree there needs to be some sort of product regulation and surveillance of potential health issues (although I would argue there already is with the vast e-cigarette consumer base present online), but what’s with the “why, how, and under what conditions e-cigarettes are being used.”? Did you not ask that in your survey?
In any case, it seems obvious why smokers would want to try e-cigarettes. They closely mimic smoking with no combustion…..it’s a no brainer to try an e-cig if you can’t or won’t quit smoking.
The real question is what type of regulation there will be in the US. Keeping the e-cigarette readily available to the American smoking public is key. Without that, it may never dominate smoking like it has the potential to do.