Background Although most US states prohibit cigarette smoking in public places and worksites, fewer jurisdictions regulate indoor use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Given the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use and concern about its impact on non-users, there is a need to examine the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments and related attitudes and perceptions.
Methods Recruited from a nationally representative adult panel (GfK's KnowledgePanel), 952 current users of e-cigarettes completed a cross-sectional online survey in 2014. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to examine the factors associated with ever using e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments.
Results Overall, 59.5% of e-cigarette users had vaped where cigarette smoking was not allowed. Young adults (18–29 years) were most likely to do so, 74.2%. The places of first-time use most often mentioned were service venues (bar, restaurant, lounge and club), 30.7%, followed by worksites, 23.5%. Daily e-cigarette users were more likely to have vaped in smoke-free environments than non-daily users (OR=2.08, p=0.012). Only 2.5% of those who used e-cigarettes in smoke-free environments reported negative reactions from other people. Most e-cigarette users did not think e-cigarettes are harmful to themselves or to by-standers, and thus should not be banned where smoking is; those who had used e-cigarettes where smoking is banned were even more likely to hold these views.
Conclusions E-cigarette use in smoke-free environments was common, suggesting that most e-cigarette users do not consider smoke-free laws to apply to e-cigarettes. Explicit laws should be considered if jurisdictions want to prohibit e-cigarette use in public places.
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