Determinants and prevalence of e-cigarette use throughout the European Union: a secondary analysis of 26 566 youth and adults from 27 Countries
- 1Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
- 2Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- 3Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
- Correspondence to Dr Constantine I Vardavas, Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece PO Box 2208;
- Received 16 October 2013
- Accepted 2 April 2014
- Published Online First 16 June 2014
Objective This study assessed the prevalence and determinants of e-cigarette use among persons aged ≥15 years in 27 European Union (EU) member countries during 2012.
Methods The 2012 Eurobarometer 385 (77.1) survey was analysed for n=26 566 respondents. Knowledge, perception of harm, and determinants of e-cigarettes use were assessed, while separate regression analyses among current (n=7352) and former cigarette smokers (n=5782) were performed. National estimates of the number of e-cigarette users were also extrapolated.
Results 20.3% of current smokers, 4.7% of ex-smokers, and 1.2% of never cigarette smokers in the EU reported having ever used an e-cigarette (overall approximately 29.3 million adults). Among smokers, ever e-cigarette use was more likely among 15–24-year-olds (aOR 3.13, 95% CI 2.22 to 4.54) and 25–39-year-olds (aOR 2.00, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.78) in comparison to older smokers, and among those who smoked 6–10 cigarettes/day (aOR 1.53, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.13) or 11–20 cigarettes/day (aOR 2.07, 95% CI 1.52 to 2.81) in comparison to very light smokers (≤5 cigarettes/day). Moreover, e-cigarette use was more likely among smokers who had made a past year quit attempt (aOR 2.08, 95% CI 1.67 to 2.58). E-cigarette use among ex-smokers was associated only with the respondents’ age, with younger ex-smokers being more likely to have ever used an e-cigarette.
Conclusions A substantial number of EU adults have ever used e-cigarettes. Ever users were more likely to be younger, current smokers, or past-year quit attempters. These findings underscore the need to evaluate the potential long term impact of e-cigarette use on consumer health, cessation and nicotine addiction and formulate a European framework for e-cigarette regulation within the revised EU Tobacco Product Directive.