Alcohol and other drug health-care providers and their client's perceptions of e-cigarette use, safety and harm reduction

Eliza Skelton, Ashleigh Guillaumier, Flora Tzelepis, Scott Walsberger, Christine L. Paul, Adrian J. Dunlop, Kerrin Palazzi, Billie Bonevski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: E-cigarettes containing nicotine may potentially assist cessation in a heavily nicotine-dependent population with high relapse and tobacco-related burden. This study aims to determine alcohol and other drug (AOD) health-care provider and client awareness, use and attitudes regarding harm reduction and safety of e-cigarettes. Methods: The study was part of a larger cluster randomised controlled trial with 32 Australian AOD services. At a post-intervention survey conducted October 2016, health-care providers were asked whether they believed e-cigarettes could help smokers quit tobacco, whether they believe e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco smoking and whether they would recommend e-cigarettes to clients who are interested in quitting smoking. At the 6-month follow-up survey conducted January 2015–March 2016, AOD clients were asked about their e-cigarette knowledge, ever use, current use, reasons for use and place of purchase. Results: One hundred and eighty health-care providers and 427 AOD clients responded. A minority of health-care providers agreed with the statements that e-cigarettes could help smokers quit tobacco (30%), while just under one-third (25%) agreed that e-cigarettes were safer than tobacco smoking. However, only 19% would recommend e-cigarettes. Most AOD clients (93%) reported awareness of e-cigarettes, 39% reported ever use; however, only 7% reported current use. Of those reporting ever use, 52% used a nicotine e-cigarette. The most common reasons for e-cigarette use were ‘wanted to try’ (72%) and ‘help cut down smoking’ (70%). Discussion and Conclusions: Both AOD health-care providers and clients are aware of e-cigarettes but are cautious in using and recommending their use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1002
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number6
Early online date28 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol and other drug
  • e-cigarette
  • quit support
  • smoking cessation
  • tobacco smoking


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