• A Deliberate Choice? Exploring the Decision to Switch from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes.

      Romijnders, Kim A G J; van Osch, Liesbeth; de Vries, Hein; Talhout, Reinskje (2019-02-20)
      E-cigarettes are increasingly popular among both cigarette smokers and non-users. Although smoking cessation yields the most individual and population health benefits, switching to exclusive e-cigarette use offers some individual health benefits for cigarette smokers. However, e-cigarette use is not harmless, and its use among non-cigarette smokers should be prevented. Our study aims to explore the decision-making process about e-cigarettes among an e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-users. We conducted 12 semi-structured focus group interviews with e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-users. We performed a thematic analysis of the interview transcripts. First, knowledge reported by e-cigarette users was mainly based on other users' experiences. Second, cigarette smokers and non-users were more negative towards e-cigarettes than e-cigarette users. Third, e-cigarette users considered switching from cigarette smoking to e-cigarette use by deliberating relevant information, and weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of e-cigarette use versus smoking. Additionally, important factors in the decision-making process were a perception of risks and benefits of e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes, a supportive social environment about e-cigarette use, and trust in information offered about the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes. Our findings provide insight into what we can learn from the conscious decision-making process of e-cigarette users who switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. This information can be considered to develop targeted communications strategies to stimulate a conscious decision-making process, these may highlight benefits of switching to e-cigarettes for cigarette smokers, discussing the risks of smoking, and correcting misperceptions about the perceived risks and benefits of e-cigarette use.