New Farsalinos survey identifies patterns of modified health behaviors in vapers

Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Kallithea, Greece, is the lead co-author of a newly published report which identifies emerging behavioral patterns among daily vapers.  He is one of the vaping community’s most respected advocates in the field of medical research, famous for debunking many of the most outlandish claims published in anti-vaping journals.  This is the man who has successfully disproven the notorious conspiracy theory that e-cig vapor is laced with deadly levels of formaldehyde and other false claims.

The Farsalinos research team wanted to better understand just how effective switching to vaping is for smokers trying to quit.  They suspected that many of the already published surveys on this topic do “not recruit representative samples of all consumers.”

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So, the Farsalinos team comprised of an additional four world-class scientists began their survey by randomly selecting 14 vape shops of the 132 locations throughout Greece.    The management of each store agreed to participate in the survey by allowing the researchers to visit each retail outlet for about four hours per day, three or four times per week. 

Customers were asked to complete a survey geared towards identifying personal vaping habits and behaviors related to past histories of smoking.  The scientists asked every third customer entering a related store to participate in the experiment by answering a questionnaire.  Questions predominately related to their experiences with both smoking and vaping.  The researchers then biochemically verified each participant’s responses by evaluating the carbon monoxide content of their exhaled breath.

The results of the vaping survey

Over the course of the project, some 309 vape shop customers took part.  Below is a brief highlight of the survey’s findings.

  • 98 percent of vapers claimed to be former smokers.
  • 2 percent claimed to have past histories of daily smoking.
  • 18 percent self-identified as occasional smokers.
  • Only 3 percent claimed to have never smoked a tobacco cigarette before buying their very first vape.
  • The average rate of tobacco consumption for daily smokers was about 25 cigarettes per day
  • Approximately 50 percent of respondents claimed to have tried to quit smoking at least once in the past by using the cold turkey method.
  • 8 percent tried to quit smoking at least once by using a therapy-like service or support group.
  • About 94 percent originally believed that switching to vaping to quit smoking would be much more difficult.
  • 9 percent preferred non-tobacco e-liquid flavors.
  • 8 percent preferred third-generation vaping devices.
  • The average e-liquid consumption per day was about 5mL.

 “This study of a random sample of adult vape shops customers in Athens showed that the vast majority were current and former smokers, with most of them being able to quit smoking after e-cigarette use initiation. The study failed to identify any gateway to smoking effects for the small minority of customers who had never smoked or had quit smoking before e-cigarette use initiation. Health benefits and limited side effects were reported, which could be a motivation for sustained e-cigarette use. The study indicates that e-cigarette use in Greece has positive public benefits, which is in agreement with a recently published population study.”

The Farsalinos vaping survey is entitled Patterns of e-cigarette use, biochemically verified smoking status and self-reported changes in health status of a random sample of vapeshops customers in Greece.  The document is readily available on the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website (NCBI.NIH)

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