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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Dec 1;157:106-11. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.014. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Perceived relative harm of electronic cigarettes over time and impact on subsequent use. A survey with 1-year and 2-year follow-ups.

Author information

1
Department of Addictions, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8BB, UK; UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), UK. Electronic address: leonie.brose@kcl.ac.uk.
2
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), UK; Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK.
3
Department of Addictions, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8BB, UK; UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), UK.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Media presentations of e-cigarettes may affect perception of the devices which may influence use.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess in a cohort of past-year smokers (1) if perceived harm of e-cigarettes relative to cigarettes changed over time, (2) predictors of perceived relative harm, (3) if perceived relative harm predicted subsequent e-cigarette use among never-users.

METHODS:

Longitudinal web-based survey of a general population sample of British smokers and ex-smokers, waves in 2012 (n=4553), 2013 and 2014 (44%, 31% response rate, respectively). Changes over time were assessed using Friedman and McNemar tests, n=1204. Perceived relative harm at wave 3 was regressed onto perceived relative harm at waves 1 and 2, while adjusting for socio-demographics and change in smoking and e-cigarette status, n=1204. Wave 2 e-cigarette use among 1588 wave 1 never-users was regressed onto wave 1 socio-demographics, smoking status and perceived relative harm.

RESULTS:

Perceived relative harm changed (χ(2)=20.67, p<0.001); the proportion perceiving e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes decreased from 2013 to 2014 (χ(2)=16.55, p<0.001). Previous perception of e-cigarettes as less harmful, having tried e-cigarettes and having stopped smoking between waves predicted perceiving e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes. Perceiving e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes predicted subsequent use, adjusting for other characteristics (OR=1.39; 95% CI: 1.08-1.80, p=0.011).

CONCLUSION:

Among a cohort of smokers and ex-smokers, accurately perceiving e-cigarettes as less harmful than smoking predicted subsequent e-cigarette use in never-users; this perception declined over time. Clear information on the relative harm of cigarettes and e-cigarettes is needed.

KEYWORDS:

Behavior; Electronic cigarettes; Harm; Nicotine; Tobacco

PMID:
26507173
PMCID:
PMC4686045
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.10.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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