Awareness and contact routes to electronic cigarette in UK adolescents

Tilean Clarke, Joanne Lusher

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: In the UK alone, it is estimated that there are 2.1 million adult e-cigarettes users (Action on Smoking and Health, 2014), with usage growing rapidly from 700,000 in 2012 (Kmietowicz, 2014). Awareness of the e-cigarette is rapidly increasing and an international study including UK, USA, Canada and Australia found 46.6% of current and former smokers were aware of the e-cigarettes, with awareness higher among younger, non-minority ethnic smokers (Adkison et al, 2013). This present study was conducted to review awareness in adolescents in a UK population and assess the ways in which they heard about the product. Design/Methods: 256 adolescent sixth form students consented to be a part of the study and completed a survey during a school time in November 2013. It was hypothesised that awareness would be greater for smokers than non-smokers and greater for males than females. Data was analysed using chi-squared analysis to test for difference. Results: The majority, 94.5% of participants had heard of e-cigarettes, with friends/family (49.2%) being the most popular source of knowledge, followed by television (35.2%), although other sources including newspaper, on the news or radio, seeing adverts on bus stop, in train station and at the airport were identified. In addition to reports of seeing it sold in local shopping centres, on social networking sites by celebrities and a few students reported selling them. In addition, 60.9% of the sample had seen someone using one. There was no relationship between smoking status and awareness of e-cigarettes for both males χ² (1, N =66) = 0.54, exact p > 0.05 and females χ² (1, N = 190) = 4.09, exact p > 0.05. Conclusion: Electronic cigarette awareness has risen rapidly in this group and continues to do so. An astonishing 94.5% of the sample has heard of the e-cigarette compared to 10% reported in 2008 (Cho et al, 2011) and 67% in 2010 - 2011 (Pepper et al, 2013). Contrary to the hypothesis, gender or smoking status did not effect this. The recent development of electronic cigarettes and the rapid increase of awareness in adolescents has led to concerns that this new product could act as a gateway to addiction in never smokers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 17 Mar 201521 Mar 2015


Conference16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi


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