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Open Access Using an e-Cigarette is Like Eating Tofu When You Really Want Meat

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Objective

Whereas controversy about the e-cigarette’s effectiveness and safety as a smoking cessation tool continues, e-cigarette use prevalence continues rising. In this study, we sought to describe experiences of adult e-cigarette users and to examine their motivations, beliefs, and use patterns.

Methods

This qualitative study included one-on-one semi-structured phone interviews with 20 current California e-cigarette users (mean age = 38 ± 9.44 years). Interviews were transcribed and thematically analyzed using MAXQDA.

Results

E-cigarettes initially addressed participants’ problems related to smoking; they no longer smelled like cigarette smoke and could avoid smoke-free regulations. Participants highlighted the importance of e-cigarette flavors and of “receiving moral credit” for harm reduction by using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes. Many described eventual dissatisfaction with e-cigarettes, which resulted in relapse to cigarette smoking and/or dual use with cigarettes. The convenience of e-cigarettes coupled with the pattern of constant use left participants increasingly reliant on e-cigarettes.

Conclusion

Ultimately, failed cessation and dual use exposes smokers to greater levels of nicotine, while still exposing them to cigarette smoke. Public health campaigns should promote awareness of the risks of using e-cigarettes, including failed cessation attempts, dual use, addiction, and other health consequences.
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Keywords: addiction; dual use; e-cigarette flavors; e-cigarettes; smoking cessation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2018

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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