Aims To explore how are e-cigarettes perceived by the e-cigarettes users and Stop Smoking Advisors (SSAs), what are the risks and benefits they associate with e-cigarettes and how do these understandings shape participants’ attitude towards e-cigarettes. Design Face to face and phone semi-structured interviews to elicit perspectives on e-cigarettes. Setting SE England, UK. Participants Fifteen e-cigarettes users and 13 SSAs. Measurements Audio recorded data transcribed verbatim, coded systematically and analysed inductively. Findings Ambiguity about e-cigarettes’ status, efficacy and potential health and social risk was a prominent theme. E-cigarettes were viewed and used as a medicine and a smoking substitute. E-cigarettes users’ perception of risk ranged between viewing e-cigarettes as safe products to being ‘dangerous’. SSAs expressed more concerns than users, especially long term effect. Some advisors envisaged e-cigarettes’ benefits for particular cohorts. All participants perceived e-cigarettes to be less harmful than smoking. Some perceived e-cigarettes to be as effective as or more than other Nicotine Replacement Therapies. There was a concern of developing an addiction to e-cigarettes and maintaining nicotine addiction. Nearly all users did not agree on e-cigarettes ban in public places and some feared of stigma shifting from smokers to e-cigarettes users. Most SSAs disapproved e-cigarettes’ resemblance to conventional cigarettes and favoured their ban in public. Nearly all SSAs favoured medicinal regulation to add e-cigarettes to their prescription list, aiming at eliminating nicotine. Conclusion The proliferation of conflicting evidence has created an atmosphere of uncertainty with different beliefs and attitudes towards e-cigarettes. Reliabevidence-based information, including harm reduction in nicotine addiction, needs to be available and communicated to avoid stigmatising e-cigarettes users.
Mrs. Nancy Tamimi / BDS. MSc. AFHEA PhD Candidate College of Business, Arts & Social Sciences Brunel University London Uxbridge,UB8 3PH, UK Twitter: @nancytamimi LinkedIn Nancy Tamimi
Conflicts of interest:
Funding Sources: self-funded
No conflict of interest