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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: E-cigarettes: online survey of UK smoking cessation practitioners
Authors: Hiscock, Rosemary
Goniewicz, Maciej L
McEwen, Andy
Murray, Susan
Arnott, Deborah
Dockrell, Martin
Bauld, Linda
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Keywords: E-cigarettes
NHS stop smoking services
Issue Date: 21-Aug-2014
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Hiscock R, Goniewicz ML, McEwen A, Murray S, Arnott D, Dockrell M & Bauld L (2014) E-cigarettes: online survey of UK smoking cessation practitioners, Tobacco Induced Diseases, 12 (1), Art. No.: 13.
Abstract: Background: Use of e-cigarettes (inhalable vapour producing battery powered devices that aim to simulate tobacco cigarettes), is rising in a number of countries, but as yet none of these products are regulated as medicinal devices or available as smoking cessation treatments. Smokers seeking support from health professionals to stop smoking are interested in e-cigarettes and may be buying them to aid a quit attempt. Determining what smokers are asking, and what health professionals think about these products may have implications for smoking treatment services in a number of countries. Methods: Stop smoking service advisors, managers and commissioners in the United Kingdom were asked to take part in two surveys on e-cigarettes. Data was analysed from 587 practitioners who completed a survey in 2011 and 705 practitioners who completed a repeat survey in 2013. Responses to multiple choice questions and free text comments were analysed. Results: Responding practitioners reported that interest in, and use of, e-cigarettes is growing among adults seeking help to stop smoking in the UK. In 2013 91% of respondents reported that interest in e-cigarettes had grown in the past year and whilst in 2011, 2% of respondents reported a ‘quarter to a half' of their clients saying that they were regularly using e-cigarettes, by 2013 this had increased to 23.5% (p < .001). Responding practitioners' views towards e-cigarettes became more positive between the first and second surveys (15% strongly agreed/agreed in 2011 that ‘e-cigarettes are a good thing' rising to 26% in 2013). However, they continued to have concerns about the products. In particular, analysis of free text responses suggested practitioners were unsure about safety or efficacy for smoking cessation, and were worried that smokers may become dependent on the products. Practitioners were also aware of the potential of e-cigarettes to undermine smokers' willingness to use evidence-based methods to stop, and to challenge policies aiming to denormalise tobacco smoking. Conclusions: Health professionals are asking for reliable and accurate information on e-cigarettes to convey to smokers who want to quit. Randomized controlled trials and ongoing surveillance of e-cigarette use and its consequences for smoking cessation rates and smoking treatment services are required.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: © 2014 Hiscock et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Affiliation: University of Bath
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
University College London
Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute for Social Marketing

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