Whilst e-cigarettes have been characterised by Public Health England as being around 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco products, only a minority of current smokers (around 16% within the UK) are using these devices. In this paper we report the results of an online survey of 650 smokers in contact with a smokers’ rights group in the UK. A total of 91% of the smokers surveyed were smoking on a daily basis. Fifty nine percent reported having used electronic nicotine delivery systems, the majority of whom reported having used e-cigarettes. Those smokers that had not used these devices principally explained this in terms of the pleasure they derived from smoking. The features smokers’ liked most about e-cigarette had to do with the range of settings in which they could be used, the lack of an offensive smell associated with their use, the available flavours and the reduced level of harm. The elements which smokers liked least about e-cigarettes had to do with the vaping experience, the technology, the chemical nature of e-liquids and the complex technology that was associated with these devices. If a greater number of smokers are to be encouraged to take up e-cigarettes, it will be necessary not only to convey accurate information on the relative harm of these devices (compared to combustible tobacco products), but to ensure that they are able to be used in a wider range of settings than those within which smoking can currently occur and that the vaping experience more closely resembles the smoking experience.
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