Behaviours, Beliefs & Attitudes Towards E-cigarettes

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We conducted an online survey of 1,001 NSW adults aged between 18 and 64 to better understand behaviours, beliefs and attitudes relating to e-cigarettes. Key issues captured by the survey included community:

  • awareness of e-cigarettes
  • perceptions about the purpose of e-cigarettes
  • use of e-cigarettes
  • reasons for using e-cigarettes
  • beliefs about the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes; and
  • support for e-cigarette regulation

The results of this survey will inform Cancer Council NSW’s advocacy to the NSW government regarding regulation of e-cigarettes and will help us to develop education programs related to e-cigarettes. 

Key findings:

  • There was high awareness of e-cigarettes with 91% of participants reporting that they had heard of e-cigarettes
  • Ever-use of e-cigarettes was low, with 13% of participants reporting current or past use
  • Young adults (those aged 18 to 24) were most likely to use e-cigarettes, with about one in four reporting ever using an e-cigarette (of concern, 12% of young adults who reported e-cigarette use were never-smokers)
  • Reasons for first using an e-cigarette differed by age and smoking status. Young adults were most likely to report novelty (32%) and use among friends (19%) as their main reasons for trying an e-cigarettes, while older adults (those aged 35 to 49 and 50 to 64) were most likely to report first using e-cigarettes to help quit smoking (47%) or to help cut down (14%)
  • Most participants believed that not enough is known about the side-effects of e-cigarettes (76%) and about half felt that they were a risk to users (53%) and bystanders (49%)
  • There was general agreement (73%) that e-cigarettes should be regulated in a similar way to cigarettes and tobacco products, even among those who reported e-cigarette use (62%)


More information

What are electronic cigarettes?
Are electronic cigarettes legal in NSW?

What is Cancer Council NSW’s policy position on electronic cigarettes?
Why does Cancer Council NSW believe electronic cigarettes need to be regulated?
Does the NSW community support e-cigarette regulation
Other useful information on electronic cigarettes