The study was conducted by the Institute of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
The respondents were asked to complete surveys at 5 time points over 12 months, and the research analysed patterns of use amongst exclusive e-cigarette users, daily e-cigarette users who stopped vaping, and former smokers who relapsed to smoking.
The results indicated that over 12 months, enjoyment gradually became the most frequently cited reason to vape, at 93%, whilst vaping to reduce the craving for cigarettes gradually decreased from 87% to 56%. In exclusive vapers who were former smokers, the nicotine concentration of e-liquids used, decreased over time from 12 to 9 mg/mL, but puffs per day remained stable at 200 puffs.
Most former smokers take up vaping to quit cigarettes
Following 12 months, 9% of 687 former smokers relapsed to smoking and 28% of 64 daily smokers who were dual users stopped smoking. Additionally, when former smokers stopped vaping, they tended to relapse to smoking (+18% daily smokers among those who stopped vaping versus -2% in permanent vapers, p < .001). Similarly, when ex-smokers relapsed to smoking, they tended to stop vaping.
The study concluded that enjoyment and relapse prevention tended to be the most common reasons to use e-cigarettes. Most importantly rates of relapse to smoking were low in former smokers who used the devices, and quit rates were high amongst current smokers who started vaping. Additionally, former smokers who quit e-cigarettes tended to revert back to smoking.