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Electronic cigarettes
10 Apr

UEL study tackles the burning issue of electronic cigarettes

Research by the University of East London (UEL) into electronic cigarettes has revealed that nearly 75 percent of the people who took part in the survey reported using the devices as a safer option to tobacco, and a way of kicking the habit altogether.

As part of the study - ‘Vaping’ profiles and preferences: an online survey of electronic cigarette users -  UEL researchers contacted approximately 1,400 electronic cigarette users between September 2011 and May 2012 via a survey, which was accessible from the websites of two electronic cigarette manufacturers.

The findings, which have just been published in the Addiction Journal, show that nearly 75 percent of respondents started using e-cigarettes as a complete alternative to smoking, while 22 per cent stated they had started using the devices for other reasons, such as stopping smoking (7 per cent), for health reasons (6 per cent) and to avoid smoking restrictions (3 per cent).

In one of the most significant findings, 86 percent of those surveyed confirmed they had not smoked cigarettes for several weeks or months since using the e-cigarette, and that the amount they smoked had decreased dramatically. The researchers also found that the majority of people responding to the survey felt their health had improved since using the devices.

Lynne Dawkins, who led the study on behalf of UEL, said: “Despite the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, little is known about who uses e-cigarettes and why. We know that the majority of people reported great health benefits – a reduction in coughing and improved breathing for example. The benefits are most likely from people smoking fewer cigarettes, rather than as a direct effect of the devices.

“The public need to be better informed about what we know and what we don’t know about e-cigarettes.  This survey is just a starting point, and further research is clearly needed to evaluate their effectiveness and long-term safety.”

A total of 1,123 ex-smokers and 218 current smokers from 33 different countries took part in the survey. About 16 percent of participants were from the U.S. and another 77 percent were from Europe. Seventy percent were men.

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with over 28,000 students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.

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