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Article | Smokers increasingly using e-cigarettes to quit, new findings from ITC NZ survey

A new paper published from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) NZ survey has found that people who smoke are increasingly using e-cigarettes to try to quit smoking, although it also revealed some possible barriers to their wider use by smokers. The findings provide the most in-depth description of patterns of vaping use among New Zealand smokers from population-based data.

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Alternative nicotine products like e-cigarettes could help achieve an end to the epidemic of ill health and death caused by smoking. However, in-depth information about their use is often limited. Our study investigated patterns of use of e-cigarettes and attitudes and beliefs among smokers and ex-smokers in New Zealand (NZ), a country with an ‘endgame’ goal for smoked tobacco.

Data came from smokers and ex-smokers in Waves 1 and 2 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) NZ Survey (Wave 1 August 2016–April 2017, 1155 participants;Wave 2, June–December 2018, 1020 participants). Trial, current and daily use of e-cigarettes was common: daily use was 7.9% among smokers and 22.6% among ex-smokers in Wave 2, and increased between surveys. Use was commonest among 18–24 years and ex-smokers, but was similar among Māori and non-Māori participants, and by socio- economic status. Most participants used e-cigarettes to help them quit or reduce their smoking. The most common motivating factor for use was cost and the most common barrier to use cited was that e-cigarettes were less satisfying than smoking. The findings could inform developing interventions in order to maximise the contribution of e-cigarettes to achieving an equitable smoke-free Aotearoa, and to  minimise any potential adverse impacts.


Edwards, R., Stanley, J., Waa, A.M., White, M., Kaai, S.C., Ouimet, J., Quah, A.C., Fong, G.T. (2020) Patterns of Use of Vaping Products among Smokers: Findings from the 2016–2018 International Tobacco Control (ITC) New Zealand Surveys. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6629

For more information, please contact:

Richard Edwards
University of Otago, Wellington

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