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China: Most E-Cigarette Users Are Former Smokers

With e-cigarette regulations in China on the increase, researchers from the National Center for Chronic and Noncommunicable Disease Control and Prevention, set out to examine how these policy changes have affected e-cigarette use behaviour.

Data released by the Electronic Cigarette Industry Committee earlier this year, suggested that the combination of the media scrutiny in the US, and the online e-cig sales ban in China had caused the demand for vaping products to drop. Since then, with China being the country of origin of the coronavirus, the local vaping industry has taken another and even greater hit.

The study titled, “E-cigarette use among adults in China: findings from repeated cross-sectional surveys in 2015–16 and 2018–19,” aimed to determine the trend in e-cigarette use in China before policy implementation and associated factors. The researchers assessed two nationally representative cross-sectional datasets from the China Chronic Disease and Nutrition Surveillance (CCDNS) surveys, initiated in 2015 (June, 2015 to May, 2016) and 2018 (August, 2018 to June, 2019).

The surveys were conducted at 298 national disease surveillance points in 31 provinces across mainland China, and used a multistage, stratified, cluster-randomised sampling design, recruiting Chinese participants aged 18 years and older. These resulted in 189 306 Chinese adults from the 2015 survey and 184 475 Chinese adults from the 2018 survey.

An increase of 0.3% in e-cig use within 3 years

The compiled data indicated that past 30-day e-cigarette use among Chinese adults increased from 1·3% in 2015–16 to 1·6% in 2018–19, equating to an increase of 0·3%. Most vapers were current conventional smokers at 93·0% in the 2015–16 survey and 96·2% in the one from 2018–19.

“Among current smokers, the odds were increased with daily cigarette consumption (2·1 [1·5–2·8]; p<0·0001), smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day (1·8 [1·5–2·3]; p<0·0001), and an attempt to quit smoking (within the past 12 months, 1·9 [1·5–2·4]; and before the past 12 months, 1·5 [1·3–1·9]; p<0·0001). In never smokers, the odds were increased in those aware of the hazards of smoking (2·4 [1·2–4·7]; p=0·011),” added the researchers.

To this effect concluded the study, vaping rates remain low but have increased substantially between 2015 and 2019, and of course some of these increases (such as amongst people trying to quit smoking) may be considered as positive trends.