Associations of e-cigarette experimentation with support for tobacco control policies in the European Union, 2012-2014
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Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Tobacco Control Unit, WHO Collaborating Center for Tobacco Control, Institut Català d’Oncologia-ICO, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Publish date: 2018-03-16
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(March):9
There are limited data on the potential effects of e-cigarette experimentation on support for tobacco control policies. To bridge this gap, we assessed associations between e-cigarette experimentation and support for tobacco control policies in the European Union 2012-2014. We also investigated variations across tobacco-use status, e-cigarette experimentation and sociodemographic characteristics.

Datasets were used from the Special Eurobarometer for Tobacco surveys performed in 2012 (n=26 751) and 2014 (n=27 801). Tobacco control policies assessed were: banning advertising, policies to keep tobacco out of sight, banning online sales, banning flavors, standardized packaging, tax increases, and policies to reduce illicit trade in tobacco. We use multilevel logistic regression models to assess variations in socio-demographics and tobacco/e-cigarette use with support for these policies in 2014, and examined changes in support for these policies, between 2012 and 2014, separately by tobacco-use status (never, current, and former smokers).

Population support for tobacco control policies was high in 2014: policies to reduce illicit trade had the highest level of support at 70.1%, while tax increases were the least likely measure to be supported with 52.3% support. Among never and former smokers, experimentation with e-cigarettes was associated with reduced support for all tobacco control policies assessed. For example, never smokers who had experimented with e-cigarettes were less likely to support either tobacco advertising bans (adjusted odds ratio aOR=0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.46-0.71) or standardized packaging for tobacco (aOR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.47-0.71). Former smokers who had experimented with e-cigarettes were less likely to either support standardized packaging for tobacco (aOR=0.70, 95% CI: 0.60-0.82) or keeping tobacco out of sight (aOR=0.77, 95% CI: 0.65-0.90). Among current smokers, e-cigarette experimentation was not associated with support for the tobacco control policies assessed.

E-cigarette experimentation was consistently associated with reduced support for tobacco control policies among never and former smokers but not among current smokers. The implications of these findings for tobacco control are unknown, but the data support concerns that e-cigarette experimentation may affect public support for established tobacco control policies within specific subgroups. Further research is needed to assess potential long-term impacts on tobacco control policies.

Anthony A. Laverty   
Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
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