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Electronic Cigarettes

Key Findings: Trends in Awareness and Use of Electronic Cigarettes among U.S. Adults, 2010-2013

The journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research has published a new study that focuses on adult awareness and use of electronic cigarettes. Researchers from CDC and Georgia State University found that from 2010 to 2013, awareness grew to 80% and use of e-cigarettes more than doubled among U.S. adults. In 2013, approximately 8 in 10 adults were aware of e-cigarettes, while nearly 1 in 10, or 20.4 million individuals, had ever tried the products at least once. E-cigarette use was especially prominent among current and former cigarette smokers. The study concludes that, given the uncertain public health impact of e-cigarettes, continued surveillance of how they are being used is critical for public health planning. Read more below for a summary of findings from this article.

Main Findings from this Study

  • The percentage of adults who have used an e-cigarette at least once rose from 3.3% in 2010 to 8.5% in 2013.
    • Current cigarette smokers who have ever used an e-cigarette increased from 9.8% in 2010 to 36.5% in 2013.
    • Former cigarette smokers who have ever used an e-cigarette increased from 2.5% in 2010 to 9.6% in 2013.
      • The marked increase among former smokers could be attributable to the use of e-cigarettes for cessation, or to initiation of e-cigarette use among those who had already quit successfully without the products.
    • Increases in ever use were observed across all population subgroups during 2010-2013, except adults aged 18-24 years, those of Hispanic or non-Hispanic ‘other’ race/ethnicity, those living in the Midwest, and those who have never smoked cigarettes.
  • Current e-cigarette use (use in the past 30 days) increased from 1.0% in 2010 to 2.6% in 2013.
  • The percentage of adults who are aware of e-cigarettes nearly doubled, from 40.9% in 2010 to 79.7% in 2013.
    • Awareness increased among all sociodemographic subgroups during 2010-2013. However, former and current smokers were more likely to be aware of e-cigarettes than adults who have never smoked.
    • The increase in awareness is likely due in part to increased advertising:
      • During 2011-2012 alone, e-cigarette makers almost tripled their annual advertising expenditures, from $6.4 million to $18.3 million.
      • E-cigarettes are heavily marketed on television, the most commonly viewed media platform. Conventional cigarette advertising has been banned from television since 1971.

About this Study

Data for this study came from the 2010-2013 HealthStyles survey, an annual consumer-based web survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older. Researchers analyzed data on nearly 15,000 U.S. adults across the four surveys. Respondent characteristics included gender, age group, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, household income and U.S. Census region.

Reference for Key Findings Feature

  1. Brian A. King, Roshni Patel, Kimberly Nguyen, and Shanta R. Dube. “Trends in Awareness and Use of Electronic Cigarettes among U.S. Adults, 2010-2013.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research. First published online September 19, 2014, doi:10.1093/ntr/ntu191