A Deliberate Choice? Exploring the Decision to Switch from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes

Kim A. G. J. Romijnders*, Liesbeth van Osch, Hein de Vries, Reinskje Talhout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular among both cigarette smokers and non-users. Although smoking cessation yields the most individual and population health benefits, switching to exclusive e-cigarette use offers some individual health benefits for cigarette smokers. However, e-cigarette use is not harmless, and its use among non-cigarette smokers should be prevented. Our study aims to explore the decision-making process about e-cigarettes among an e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-users. We conducted 12 semi-structured focus group interviews with e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-users. We performed a thematic analysis of the interview transcripts. First, knowledge reported by e-cigarette users was mainly based on other users' experiences. Second, cigarette smokers and non-users were more negative towards e-cigarettes than e-cigarette users. Third, e-cigarette users considered switching from cigarette smoking to e-cigarette use by deliberating relevant information, and weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of e-cigarette use versus smoking. Additionally, important factors in the decision-making process were a perception of risks and benefits of e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes, a supportive social environment about e-cigarette use, and trust in information offered about the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes. Our findings provide insight into what we can learn from the conscious decision-making process of e-cigarette users who switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. This information can be considered to develop targeted communications strategies to stimulate a conscious decision-making process, these may highlight benefits of switching to e-cigarettes for cigarette smokers, discussing the risks of smoking, and correcting misperceptions about the perceived risks and benefits of e-cigarette use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number624
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • informed decision making
  • focus groups
  • qualitative research
  • dual use
  • harm reduction
  • smoking prevention
  • targeted communication
  • INFORMED CHOICE
  • ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES
  • SMOKING-CESSATION
  • SMOKERS
  • NICOTINE
  • INITIATION
  • CONTEXT
  • TOBACCO

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