Objectives To describe patterns of experimentation with electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, their self-reported impact on smoking cessation and to identify factors associated with self-reported successful quit attempts within the European Union (EU).
Design A cross-sectional study.
Setting 28 European Union member states.
Methods We analysed data from wave 82.4 of the Special Eurobarometer survey, collected in December 2014 from all 28 EU member states. The total sample size was n=27 801 individuals aged ≥15 years; however, our analyses were conducted in different subgroups with sample sizes ranging from n=470 to n=9363. Data on e-cigarette experimentation and its self-reported impact on smoking cessation were collected. Logistic regression models were used to assess factors associated with experimentation of e-cigarettes as cessation aids and with successful quitting. Logistic regression was also used to assess changes in the use of e-cigarettes as cessation aids between 2012 (using data from wave 77.1 of the Eurobarometer) and 2014 in each member state.
Results E-cigarettes were often experimented with as a cessation aid, especially among younger smokers (OR=5.29) and those who reported financial difficulties (OR=1.33). In total, 10.6% of those who had ever attempted to quit smoking and 27.4% of those who did so using a cessation aid had experimented with e-cigarettes as a cessation aid. Among those who had used e-cigarettes as a cessation aid, those with higher education were more likely to have been successful in quitting (OR=2.23). There was great variation in trends of use of e-cigarette as a cessation aid between member states.
Conclusions Experimentation with e-cigarettes as a potential cessation aid at a population level has increased throughout the EU in recent years, and certain population groups are more likely to experiment with them as cessation aids. Research on the potential population impact of these trends is imperatively needed.
- smoking cessation
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Contributors FTF conceived and conducted the data analysis. FTF, AAL and CIV all contributed to data interpretation and manuscript preparation.
Funding This work was supported by a grant from the European Commission (Horizon2020 HCO-6-2015; EUREST-PLUS: 681109; Vardavas).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement The data set is publicly available at the GESIS Data Archive, DOI: doi:10.4232/1.12265.
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