Online Program

Perceived efficacy of e-cigarettes versus nicotine replacement therapies among successful e-cigarette users – a qualitative approach

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Amanda Barbeau, MPH, Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Nicotine is recognized as an addictive psychoactive drug. Most smokers are bio-behaviorally addicted, and quitting is often accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. Research indicates that nicotine replacement therapy can double quit rates. However, the success rate for quitting remains low. E-cigarettes are battery-powered nicotine delivery devices used to inhale doses of vaporized nicotine without the harmful chemicals present in tobacco products. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes may be effective in helping smokers quit and prevent relapse, but there have been few published qualitative studies, especially among successful e-cigarette users, which explain why. Qualitative design using focus groups (N=11); 9 males and 2 females. Focus groups were conducted posing open-ended questions relating to the use of e-cigarettes, comparison of effectiveness between NRT's and e-cigarettes, barriers to quitting, and reasons for choosing e-cigarettes over other methods. Results: Five main reasons - themes – emerged that describe users perception of why e-cigs are efficacious in quitting smoking: 1) Bio-behavioral feedback, 2) Social benefits, 3) Hobby elements, 4) Personal identity, 5) Distinction between smoking cessation and nicotine cessation. Subjects reported their experiences with NRT's compared to electronic cigarettes and their perceived efficacy citing negative side effects of NRT's and their inability to prevent relapse. These findings suggest that tobacco control practitioners must pay increased attention to the importance of the behavioral and social components of smoking addiction. By addressing these components in addition to nicotine dependence, electronic cigarettes appear to be helping some users in transitioning from smoking cigarettes and maintaining cigarette abstinence.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the perceived efficacy of electronic cigarettes among successful e-cigarette users. Assess the perceived efficacies of electronic cigarette users among successful e-cigarette users. List and explain a series of themes identified among successful e-cigarette users that describe the perceived efficacy of e-cigarettes compared to other nicotine replacement therapies. Discuss the concept of adequate nicotine replacement therapies, and the consideration of the way in which users of electronic cigarettes perceive these products by the FDA when developing regulations for electronic cigarettes.

Keyword(s): Tobacco, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I studied behavioral sciences for 6 years as a student. I have also worked as a trained Applied Behavior Analysis therapist for 6 yrs working with children with Autism. Additionally I have have been conducting research in the field of behavioral sciences as an undergraduate student and graduate student. Furthermore, the paper for the abstract I am submitting has been accepted for publication in the journal of Addiction Science and Clinical Practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.