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

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


This research could not have been accomplished in the timescales available without the individuals and organisations who helped us to recruit the young adults who took part. We would especially wish to thank the following people: Anne Marie Baird, Katie Baxter, Lisa Buck, Francinne Carnegie, Margaret Comrie, Jane Cooper, Kerry Dalgetty, Joan Dewar, Manjeet Gill, Francesca MacLeod, Roddie MacLeod, Anne McGregor and Graeme Stevenson.

We would also like to thank each one of the 99 young adults who took part in the focus groups, and who generously shared their views and experiences with us.

Professor Linda Bauld at Stirling University gave us helpful information in the early stages of this study about the development of e-cigarettes, and later provided input to our research topic guide. Andy Morrison from the New Nicotine Alliance gave us a crash course in e-cigarettes from the perspective of a vaper. Karin Dowell transcribed all of our focus group recordings with her usual good grace, and with great speed and accuracy.

Finally, we are grateful for the support and encouragement we received from Fiona MacDonald at the Scottish Government throughout this study, and for the input of the members of the Scottish Government's research advisory group: Amanda Amos (Edinburgh University), Celia Gardiner ( NHS Health Scotland), Colin Lumsdaine ( NHS Lothian), Siobhan Mackay (Scottish Government), Alastair MacKinnon (Fast Forward) and Nicola Rennie (Scottish Government).

A note about terminology

Throughout this report, the term 'vaper' refers to a person who uses e-cigarettes and 'vaping' refers to the action of using an e-cigarette.

The term 'smoker-vaper' is also used occasionally in the report to refer to people who were dual users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

In general, however, the report refers to 'non-smokers', 'smokers' or 'vapers'. Where these designations are used in Chapters 4- 11 (the discussion of the qualitative findings), they refer to, respectively, 'participants in the non-smoking groups', 'participants in the smoking groups' and 'participants in the vaping groups'. In fact, many of the individuals who took part in the smoking and vaping groups were smoker-vapers.


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