Use of e-cigarettes among smokers and recent quitters: results from the ITC New Zealand Survey
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University of Otago, Public Health, New Zealand
University of Otago, Dean's Department, New Zealand
University of Waterloo, Psychology, Canada
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Canada
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A270
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In New Zealand (NZ), nicotine-containing e-cigarettes (ECs) and e-liquids cannot be sold legally in shops, but can be imported via the internet. We describe patterns of EC use prior to a planned legislative change in 2018 permitting sales of nicotine-containing ECs.

We present data from CATI interviews with 820 current smokers and 252 recent quitters from Wave 1 (August 2016 to April 2017) of the ITC NZ Survey. The figures in the abstract are from preliminary analysis using unweighted data.

Over a half (56%) of participants had ever used an EC. A fifth (20% ex-smokers, 19% current smokers) were currently using ECs, of whom 32% were using ECs daily and 36% weekly or monthly. 17% had used a nicotine-containing EC in the last year.
Of participants who had tried to quit in the last year, 29% used ECs in their latest quit attempt and 20% used a nicotine-containing EC (compared to 35% who had used NRT and 19% prescription cessation medications such as Zyban and Champix).
Among current EC users, common reasons for use among recent quitters included to quit smoking (86%) and to help cut down on smoking (73%). Similarly, current smokers (dual users) mostly reported using ECs to quit (74%) or cut down (71%). However, 51% of current smokers reported using ECs to replace some ordinary cigarettes so they didn't have to quit smoking.

Nicotine-containing EC use was surprisingly common in a setting where retail sales are prohibited. ECs were usually used to support quit attempts or cut down smoking. However, a high proportion of current smokers were using ECs as a susbtitute for cigarettes to avoid quitting. The findings suggest that ECs may contribute to achieving NZ's Smokefree 2025 goal, provided they are predominantly used as a quitting aid rather than a means to defer quitting.