Dependence levels in users of electronic cigarettes, nicotine gums and tobacco cigarettes

 

  • Little is known about the addictiveness of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
  • We assessed dependence in daily users of e-cigarettes.
  • We found that e-cigarettes users were less addicted to e-cigarettes than smokers were addicted to tobacco cigarettes and nicotine gum users to the nicotine gum.

Published: 18 December 2014

Positive: Yes

Link to publication: http://www.drugandalcoholdependence.com/article/S0376-8716%2814%2901986-3/abstract#.VND5EhP-1Qw.twitter

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.12.007

Authors

Jean-François Etter
Thomas Eissenberg


Summary

Objective

To assess dependence levels in users of e-cigarettes, and compare them with dependence levels in users of nicotine gums and tobacco cigarettes.

Design

Self-reports from cross-sectional Internet and mail surveys. Comparisons of: (a) 766 daily users of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes with 30 daily users of nicotine-free e-cigarettes; (b) 911 former smokers who used the e-cigarette daily with 451 former smokers who used the nicotine gum daily (but no e-cigarette); (c) 125 daily e-cigarette users who smoked daily (dual users) with two samples of daily smokers who did not use e-cigarettes (2206 enrolled on the Internet and 292 enrolled by mail from the general population of Geneva). We used the Fagerström test for nicotine dependence, the nicotine dependence syndrome scale, the cigarette dependence scale and versions of these scales adapted for e-cigarettes and nicotine gums.

Results

Dependence ratings were slightly higher in users of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes than in users of nicotine-free e-cigarettes. In former smokers, long-term (>3 months) users of e-cigarettes were less dependent on e-cigarettes than long-term users of the nicotine gum were dependent on the gum. There were few differences in dependence ratings between short-term (≤3 months) users of gums or e-cigarettes. Dependence on e-cigarettes was generally lower in dual users than dependence on tobacco cigarettes in the two other samples of daily smokers.


Conclusions

Some e-cigarette users were dependent on nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, but these products were less addictive than tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes may be as or less addictive than nicotine gums, which themselves are not very addictive.

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