Issue addressed: E-cigarette awareness and use has increased globally, but little is known about the social factors that influence uptake in Australia. We explored the reasons why people started, continued and stopped using e-cigarettes in Australia. Methods: This was a qualitative study comprising 14 semi-structured interviews with past and current e-cigarette users in Australia. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically to explore reasons why people started, continued or stopped using e-cigarettes. Results: The following three themes emerged from interviews: “social” reasons, including issues of peer influence and social norms; “health” reasons, with aspects related to the reduction in use of cigarettes and health effects of using e-cigarettes; and “access and other personal” reasons, including the cost of e-cigarettes, the ability to access e-cigarettes and participants’ experiences with e-cigarettes. Conclusions: The study revealed that social norms and peer influence were reasons why people started and stopped using e-cigarettes. Smokers often cited health reasons for starting, while non-smokers cited social reasons for both starting and stopping. So what?: The social and non-social reasons for why people say they start or stop using e-cigarettes appear to vary between smokers and non-smokers. Future studies may benefit from measuring these factors, differentiating between smokers and non-smokers, and considering these factors as part of interventions for limiting e-cigarette uptake among non-smokers.
- social factors