E-cigarettes or vaping: is there any difference in perceptions of use and associated harm among the current users between a developed and a developing country?
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La Trobe University, Austin Clinical School of Nursing, Australia
The University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Australia
La Trobe University, Austin and Northern Clinical School of Nursing, Australia
Umeå University, Department of Nursing, Sweden
Austin Hospital, Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Australia
The University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, Australia
St Vincent's Health, Department of Psychiatry, Australia
The University of Melbourne, Department of Psychiatry, Australia
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A245
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E-cigarettes or vaping are currently increasing in popularity among smokers globally. This study aims to compare e-cigarette users between a developed country and a developing country to identify similarities/differences regarding perceptions of use and associated harm.

A cross sectional survey was conducted during July 2017 among members of different popular online forums in Australia and Bangladesh, who were current or ex-users of e-cigarettes. Data were collected anonymously using Qualtrics.

There were 452 study participants, mean age was 39(±13.2) years and 80%(n=356) were men. Daily or occasional smoking in the last 30 days was more frequent among the Bangladeshi participants than their Australian counterparts (38% vs. 18%, p< 0.001, ORs 2.85, 95%CIs 1.76-4.62). Endeavour to quit smoking was also more common among the current smokers in Bangladesh (90% vs. 72%, p=0.013, ORs 3.69, 95%CIs 1.16-11.7). Almost all of the participants in both countries were using e-cigarettes daily and had nicotine in the e-liquid. The average amount of e-liquid used, nicotine strengths and duration of use in Australia and Bangladesh were 9(±7.9) vs. 5.9(±3.5) ml/day, 6.8(±6.4) vs. 4.6(±1.8) mg/ml, and 22.9(±22.3) vs. 15.9(±12.8) months respectively. The most commonly cited reason for using e-cigarettes in both countries was to reduce/quit cigarette smoking, although there was a significant difference between Australia and Bangladesh (95% vs. 83%, p< 0.001, ORs 3.89, 95%CIs 1.84-8.21). More than three quarters of respondents in both countries perceived e-cigarettes as less harmful and more than two thirds perceived them as less addictive. The majority of respondents did not try to stop using e-cigarettes, however, intention to discontinue in the next five years was more in Bangladesh than Australia (85% vs. 74%, p=0.006, ORs 1.99, 95%CIs 1.15-3.46).

E-cigarettes were primarily used for reducing/quitting cigarettes in both countries, which supports prior evidence regarding the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.