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Prevalence of e-cigarette users in New South Wales

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Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use has grown rapidly in parts of the world, the United Kingdom and United States in particular.1,2 In Australia, evidence is lacking regarding how widely e-cigarettes are used, for what purpose and by whom. There is vigorous debate over the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes, including whether they are the next big thing in smoking cessation or whether they will act as a gateway to tobacco smoking.3,4 The first step towards being able to answer these important questions is to understand the profile and prevalence of e-cigarette users.

While information on the prevalence of e-cigarette use among smokers in Australia has been publicly reported,4 to our knowledge, there is no published information on population-level prevalence rates of e-cigarette use in Australia and no indication of whether we are seeing an increase from year to year comparable with what has been seen overseas. The 2014 New South Wales Population Health Survey provides insights into e-cigarette use in the state and a baseline from which future changes in use can be measured in the general population.

The telephone-based survey, administered by the NSW Ministry of Health, captured responses to a question on e-cigarette…