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Publication - Research Publication

Young adults and e-cigarettes: a qualitative exploration of awareness, experience and attitudes

Published: 13 May 2016
ISBN:
9781786522283

Findings from qualitative research into young adults’ awareness and experiences of, and attitudes towards, e-cigarettes in Scotland, in 2015-16.

71 page PDF

909.5kB

71 page PDF

909.5kB

Contents
Young adults and e-cigarettes: a qualitative exploration of awareness, experience and attitudes
3 Description of the participants

71 page PDF

909.5kB

3 Description of the participants

3.1 This chapter provides information about the young adults who took part in the research. It is important to emphasise that the findings discussed here are not representative of the wider population of 16- to 25-year-olds in Scotland due to the purposive sampling approach used in the study. (See again Chapter 2.)

Sample description

3.2 Table 3.1 provides details about the sample achieved in the 13 focus groups. Altogether 99 young adults aged 16-25 took part in the research. The sample included a slightly higher proportion of males (55%) than females (45%).

Table 3.1: Sample description

Target groups Location ( ID) M
(n)
F
(n)
Total
(n)
Vapers (5 groups)
Under 21s In employment Glasgow ( FG6) 3 2 5
NEET / living in an area of high deprivation Dundee ( FG10) 4 1 5
18-23s In further / higher education Dundee ( FG3) 6 3 9
19-25s In employment Glasgow ( FG11) 4 5 9
NEET / living in an area of high deprivation Edinburgh ( FG7) 4 1 5
Smokers (5 groups)
Under 21s In further / higher education Dundee ( FG2) 4 4 8
NEET / living in an area of high deprivation Edinburgh ( FG4) 4 6 10
NEET / living in an area of high deprivation Dundee ( FG9) 2 7 9
19-25s In employment Glasgow ( FG5) 6 3 9
In employment Edinburgh ( FG8) 4 3 7
Non-smokers (3 groups)
Under 21s NEET / living in an area of high deprivation Edinburgh ( FG1) 4 2 6
In employment Dundee ( FG13) 2 5 7
19-25s In employment Glasgow ( FG12) 7 3 10
Total (n) 54 45 99
Total (%) 55% 45% 100%

About the participants

3.3 Age of participants. Table 3.2 provides details of the age profile of the sample. Approximately half the sample was aged 16-19 (54%), and half aged 20-25 (46%).

Table 3.2: Age of participants

Age n %
16 15 15%
17 16 16%
18 11 11%
19 11 11%
20 8 8%
21 5 5%
22 3 3%
23 5 5%
24 14 14%
25 11 11%
Total 99 100%

* Percentages do not total 100% due to rounding.

3.4 Smoking status of participants. Table 3.3 sets out the self-reported smoking status of participants. Just over half (52%) of those who took part in the study were regular smokers and a further 17% were occasional smokers.

Table 3.3: Smoking status of participants

Smoking status n %
Non-smoker 22 22%
Former smoker 9 9%
Smoker 51 52%
Occasional smoker 17 17%
Total 99 100%

3.5 Age of first smoking. Among those who were current or former smokers (n=77), age of first smoking ranged from 7 to 18, with most (n=19) having started at age 14 ( Figure 3.1). Two-thirds of the sample (n=52, 68%) commenced smoking between the ages of 13 and 15, while a fifth (n=15, 19%) only began smoking at age 16 or later.

Figure 3.1: Age of first smoking

Figure 3.1: Age of first smoking

3.6 Experience of vaping. Most of the participants (77%) reported that they had tried vaping. However, among non-smokers, less than a quarter (23%) had ever vaped. ( Table 3.4.)

Table 3.4: Number and proportion who had ever vaped, by smoking status

Ever vaped? Yes No Total
Smoking status n % n % n %
Non-smoker 5 23% 17 77% 22 100%
Former smoker 9 100% 0 0% 9 100%
Smoker 46 90% 5 10% 51 100%
Occasional smoker 16 94% 1 6% 17 100%
Total 76 77% 23 23% 99 100%

3.7 Current vaping status. In addition, 40% of the participants overall reported being current vapers - defined as vaping at least once a week ( Table 3.5). Non-smokers and current smokers were least likely to be current vapers, while occasional smokers and former smokers were most likely to be current vapers.

Table 3.5: Number and proportion who were current vapers, by smoking status

Current vaper? Yes No Total
Smoking status n % n % n %
Non-smoker 2 9% 20 91% 22 100%
Former smoker 5 56% 4 44% 9 100%
Smoker 20 39% 31 61% 51 100%
Occasional smoker 13 76% 4 24% 17 100%
Total 40 40% 59 60% 99 100%

Dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes

3.8 Table 3.5 shows that 39% of regular smokers in this study were also current vapers. Furthermore, most of the current vapers reported being either regular or occasional smokers: half were regular smokers, and a third said they smoked occasionally. These findings suggest that there is likely to be a large degree of overlap in the views and experiences discussed by participants in the vaping and smoking groups. The vaping groups were not solely groups of vapers, but largely consisted of smoker-vapers; this was also true of the smoking groups, but to a lesser extent.

3.9 Again, note that the figures shown in this section are not representative of the wider population of 16- to 25-year-olds and so do not correspond to the prevalence figures discussed in Chapter 1. In particular, the purposive sampling approach used in this study was specifically designed to target current vapers and smokers.


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