A European Union-wide study showed citizen’s disposition to use or try an electronic cigarette, at least once. The survey was led by the Imperial College London and it was published on Tuesday. The research can be found in the journal Tobacco Control, a online publication dedicated to tobacco’s effect on population, economy and environment.

Commonly known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs or even, EC, they are metal devices that produce flavored steam. Electronic cigarettes heat the liquid contained in the tube. Which is called e-liquid and is usually made of nicotine and diverse flavorings. When inhaling the electronic device, it delivers vapor. That way, they are sometimes referred to as vapor devices or just vapers. These devices have had a huge popularity since last 10 years. And the study was aimed to the increasing use of e-cigarettes. This, in order to analyze their use in the European population.

Smoking an electronic cigarette makes the user more likely to start using real tobacco
Smoking an electronic cigarette makes the user more likely to start using real tobacco. Image Credit: Brown Zisb

Researchers from the Britain’s Imperial College London carried out the survey on e-cigarettes users between 2012 and 2014. The research showed outputs related to the increase, in just two years, of e-cigs among former smokers, current smokers or people who tried them once.

The samples were composed by 53,000 adults aged 15 and older,  from 27 regions of Europe. During two years, participants answered questions related to frequency of use of e-cigs. The questions involved reasons for use, awareness of consequences in health and current tobacco use. Participants were also asked about age, sex, education and financial security.

Researchers used two Eurobarometer for tobacco surveys.

The study has illustrated that in the last two years, smokers are leaving behind conventional cigarettes and they are going on e-cigarettes. This tendency has been restated by the metal device’ sells. Which has rapidly grown during the last decade.

Flavour Vapor, is the main shop of electronic cigarettes in the United Kingdom. Its general manager, Shane Adams, has said that everyday he witnesses how the amount of clients coming for e-cigs increases. In 2013, Adams inaugurated his first shop and due to to the raise in demand. One year later, he opened a second one on Union Street.

Adam said that, daily, customers share with him stories about how e-cigs have been a live changing option to whom cigarettes had brought to their health bad consequences.

The results

Regarding those participants who said they had ever tried an e-cigarette, the amount increased from 7.2%, registered in 2012, to 11.6% in late 2014. However, this proportion was not definitive in all european countries. In France for instance, it was recorded a rise from 7.3 percent in 2012, to  21.3 percent in 2014, almost a triple increase, and Portugal had the lowest statistics with a 5.7 percent.

Germany, Italy and Spain also showed a low rate regarding citizen’s disposition to try electronic cigarettes.

As per research showed, the amount of current smokers who said they had never tried vapers was 23 times higher than the 6.5 percent of former smokers who had tried one.

Moreover, those who are current users of e-cigarettes resulted to be the oldest participants from the sample. They were likely to affirm that their motivation to try electronic cigarettes was with the aim of definitely quitting the cigarette.

The study was published on Tuesday in the journal Tobacco Control. Among all its findings, the survey also showed that one in seven who have tried electronic cigarettes kept on using them.

E-cigarettes are now considered harmful

Even if sales of electronic cigarettes have increased all around Europe, users have stated they consider e-cigs a risk for their health. In 2012, 27 percent (one in four) thought e-cigs were toxic. By 2014, the rate had increased almost by half, with a 51.5 percent. Respondents shared their concerns about the toxicity of some of the ingredients used in the elaboration of EC.

Even so, researchers said that study demonstrated a variation among regions. For example in Hungary, 31 percent of participants did not consider e-cigarettes as a health risk. But in Netherlands, 78 percent disagree with that statement. The UK had one of the lowest rates of europeans who consider electronic cigarettes are harmful.

On the basis of the survey’s variations, researchers linked the uncertainty about the benefits or risks for health of vapers to the ignorance of the electronic devices’s use. Also, they added that there is little advertisement about the role of electronic cigarettes while trying to quit smoking. Besides, when participants have been asked about the reasons for not trying before e.cigs, they said they thought the device was too expensive.

Source: Tobacco Control