Electronic cigarette use and understanding among a national sample of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Islander smokers

D. P. Thomas, N. Lusis, A. E. van der Sterren, R. Borland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Introduction: Adult daily smoking prevalence in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is 2.8 times that of other Australians. There is little data on prevalence of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We measured e-cigarette use and beliefs about their harmfulness in national samples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers and of all Australian smokers.


    Methods: The Talking About the Smokes project interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 1301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers between August 2013 and August 2014. The Australian Wave 9 survey of the long-running International Tobacco Control Project interviewed 1093 smokers between February and May 2013. Estimates for all Australian smokers were standardized to the age and sex distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers.


    Results: Fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander than all Australian smokers had tried an e-cigarette (21% vs. 30%). This was in part because of more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers having not heard of e-cigarettes. Fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers than all Australian smokers agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes (22% vs. 50%).


    Conclusions: Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers have used e-cigarettes. However, there is considerable misunderstanding about the relative harm of e-cigarettes compared with conventional cigarettes, in part because of the tight regulatory environment in Australia.


    Implications: The study describes e-cigarette use and understanding in national samples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers and of all Australian smokers. Only small studies have reported on e-cigarette use in this high smoking prevalence population. Fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers than all Australian smokers had tried an e-cigarette and fewer agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Australian governments, health authorities, health professionals, and e-cigarette regulations should provide clearer messages that e-cigarettes are less harmful.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1434-1440
    Number of pages7
    JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
    Volume21
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2018

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