A study at the University of Otago in Wellington found that smokers are increasingly using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
The lead author of the study, Professor Richard Edwards of the University's Department of public health, found that the use of e-cigarettes was most common among people aged 18-24 and those who had recently quit smoking. The study also showed that awareness levels and e-cigarette use among smokers and recent quitters increased between 2016 and 2018.
As part of the New Zealand division of the international tobacco control policy assessment (ITC) project, the study included surveys of 1155 people who smoked or recently quit smoking between 2016 and 2017 and 1020 people (400 of them Maori) in 2018. Participants were recruited from a representative national health survey in New Zealand. They were asked about their smoking behavior, their views on e-cigarettes and the reasons for their use.
The 2018 survey found that most smokers (98%) were aware of the existence of e-cigarettes. A total of 77% of the respondents said that they had tried smoking, 22% said they used e-cigarettes at least monthly and 11% used e-cigarettes every day. Professor Edwards points out that the use patterns of Maori and non Maori participants are generally similar.
78% of them use e-cigarettes to quit smoking
19% of the respondents were 18-24 years old, while 10% were from the elderly group. The largest amount of daily use among recent smokers is 23%, while 8% of daily smokers are current smokers. 78% of people use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and 81% use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. In terms of age, 19% of the users are 18-24 years old, while 10% of the users are from the older group, which is not surprising because young people know more about technology.
Professor Edwards said it was encouraging to note that the use of e-cigarettes was prevalent among recent smokers and those who wanted to quit. "This shows that e-cigarettes can help reduce smoking rates and help to achieve the goal of making oteroa smoke-free by 2025," he said.
On the other hand, he added, the fact that it is widely used among the younger generation is worrying. "However, it is worrying that e-cigarettes are more common among people aged 18-24. If e-cigarettes are to make a substantial contribution to reducing smoking, there is a need to increase the use of e-cigarettes among the elderly. "
Many smokers don't smoke e-cigarettes very often
Another finding that worries researchers is that a large number of smokers report that they only try e-cigarettes instead of using them regularly. "The most common potential obstacle was that 68% of the subjects thought smoking was not as satisfying as smoking, and 39% mistakenly believed that e-cigarette was as harmful or more harmful as smoking, or uncertain (15%)
He added that such beliefs indicate the need to educate the public about vaping through such channels as vaping facts. "This will enable smokers to understand the relative costs and hazards of smoking and e-cigarettes, encourage smokers to quit smoking or switch entirely to e-cigarettes, and encourage smokers to seek expert advice from professional retailers to provide them with the best e-cigarette products."
It has been found that saving money is a big incentive to encourage this transformation
Edwards also pointed out that the most common incentive for people to smoke is to save money. Therefore, maintaining a high price tax system for cigarettes may prove effective compared with smoking products.
With regard to achieving New Zealand's smoke-free goal, the authors of the study said that at present, it is unlikely to achieve this goal by 2025, especially for Maori and Pacific peoples, where more action is needed. "E-cigarettes have made a useful contribution, but more needs to be done to enable all new Zealanders to enjoy smoke-free Aotearoa. A comprehensive strategy is needed to make smoked tobacco products less attractive, less addictive and less accessible to complement the impact of alternative products such as e-cigarettes in reducing smoking rates. "