Comments are welcome on this new working paper (pdf), either in the comments here or via email. Some readers will recognize it as an improved version of preliminary reports from this survey (which are referenced in the paper).
Abstract: Existing surveys of e-cigarette users have provided useful information, but have been limited to convenience samples with no identifiable target population. The membership of The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, a U.S. NGO, offers a unique opportunity for a survey of enthusiasts vapers. The survey, conducted in 2015, included 20,000 adult current vapers residing in the USA, with a far higher response rate than any previous survey. The results support several pieces of conventional wisdom, also reflected in previous survey results, that enthusiast vapers prefer open systems, interesting flavors (particular sweet flavors), and have a history of failed smoking cessation attempts using most of the “officially approved” methods. Almost all subjects who quit smoking with e-cigarettes believe they would still be smoking without them. About 90% of subjects indicated an intention to flout regulatory restrictions on available products, notably including a scenario that basically describes the effects of the announced FDA regulation. This suggests that assessments of that regulation grossly understate the probability and scope of a black market and do-it-yourself manufacturing, and thus overstate the impact on actual consumption. There are clear contrasts between this population and the average e-cigarette user, which commentators frequently ignore, but these results are probably representative of half a million and perhaps a million U.S. vapers.