E-cigarette use in Germany from 2015 to 2017
Katrin Schaller 1  
Sarah Kahnert 1
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German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Unit Cancer Prevention and WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control, Germany
Publish date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A255
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Worldwide sales of e-cigarettes are increasing markedly as well as their use by adults and youths. The utility of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation is a matter of scientific debate. Increasing use among youths however - and especially among nonsmoking adolescents - is a matter of concern, as e-cigarette use is suspected to contribute to nicotine addiction and smoking initiation. Currently, for Germany, data on e-cigarette use are sparse.

The German Cancer Research Center conducted annual representative cross-sectional surveys from 2015 to 2017, each comprising a sample of n=2000 persons aged 16 years and older. All respondents were asked whether they used e-cigarettes, smokers and former smokers were also asked about cessation methods they used in their last quit attempt. For February 2018, another survey is planned.

Ever use of e-cigarettes increased from 2015 to 2017; in 2017 8.6% of all respondents had ever used e-cigarettes. Ever use of e-cigarettes was highest in ages 16 - 19. Regular use was generally lower, but also markedly increased from 2015 to 2017; in 2017 2.5% of all respondents used e-cigarettes at least weekly. Regular use was highest in the age groups 20 - 29 and 50+. More smokers (4.3%) than former (2.8%) or never (1.0%) smokers used e-cigarettes regularly. The percentage of smokers who used e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking decreased from 3.1% in 2015 to 2.5% in 2017, but the percentage of former smokers who said that they successfully quit by using e-cigarettes increased from 0.5% in 2015 to 1.8 % in 2017.

In Germany, regular e-cigarette use is low, but increasing. E-cigarette experimentation is highest among youths, and regular use is highest among young adults. The percentage of former smokers who successfully stopped smoking by using e-cigarettes as cessation method is still low, but increasing.