RIVM and Maastricht University have identified a combination of factors that can be used to distinguish between exclusive e-cigarette users (vapers) on the one hand and people who smoke both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes on the other hand (the so-called dual users). A distinction between the two groups is important to give tailor-made help in taking a step towards stopping using tobacco products. This is revealed in a publication by the researchers in the International Journal Environmental Research Public Health. 

The researchers found among some 120 vapers and dual smokers that users of exclusively the e-cigarette smoked more cigarettes in the past than the dual users in the present. In addition, more vapers indicate that they find it challenging to stop smoking altogether. This suggests that they have tried to quit before and know how hard it is. 

Unattractive smell

The researchers also looked at the attractiveness of the regular cigarette and the e-cigarette. Sixty per cent of e-cigarette users find ordinary cigarettes unattractive, mainly because of the smell after smoking, the taste of smoking and the high price.  For dual smokers, this is only 12 per cent. Furthermore, the researchers found that vapers are more satisfied with their product but complain about the fact that there are no vending machines where they can buy vapour products. Dual smokers are more likely to quit altogether than e-cigarette users.

Follow-up steps

By combining all the data, with a safety score of more than 80 per cent, it is possible to determine which category they belong to now: that of e-cigarette users or of dual smokers. This distinction is important in connection with possible follow-up steps that smokers can take to quit smoking, for example, through improved health communication.