The importance of proper information: Risk perception about e-cigarettes is the strongest predictor of dual use

By Dr Farsalinos

new study by our group was published yesterday in International Journal of Drug Policy. The study evaluated data from the large survey of more than 19,000 e-cigarette users that was published last year. Our purpose was to examine the factors associated with dual use of both electronic and tobacco cigarettes. To do that, we prepared a case-control study. This means that we took all dual users of the large survey and matched them with an equal number of non-smoking e-cigarette users (all of whom former smokers), based on age and gender. In total, 7060 participants were included in the study. We analyzed the responses to evaluate which factors predict dual use (meaning, which characteristics were statistically more common in dual users compared to non-smoking vapers).


The most important finding was that the strongest predictor of dual use was high risk perception for e-cigarettes. Although expected, this is a very important finding because it shows that misinformation and exaggeration about e-cigarette risks is discouraging smokers from making a complete switch. Considering that the survey was performed in dedicated users, I expect that this factor will be even more important for the general population. Moreover, I think that it is not only associated with dual use but also with failure to reduce smoking or with relapse to smoking. A recent study reported an alarming finding, that smokers tend to believe e-cigarettes are equally or even more harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Other studies support and recommend exaggerated risk claims for tobacco harm reduction products. This in reality is a way to discourage smokers from switching to a less harmful alternative. Unfortunately, none of these discouraged smokers will go to a smoking cessation clinic to try to quit; they will just continue to smoke tobacco cigarettes…

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