Parental Use of Electronic Cigarettes

Published:August 23, 2015DOI:



      To describe parental use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) to better understand the safety risks posed to children.


      Between June 24 and November 6, 2014, parents completed a self-administered paper survey during an office visit to 15 pediatric practices in a Midwestern practice-based research network. Attitudes towards and use of e-cigs are reported for those aware of e-cigs before the survey.


      Ninety-five percent (628 of 658) of respondents were aware of e-cigs. Of these, 21.0% (130 of 622) had tried e-cigs at least once, and 12.3% (77) reported e-cig use by ≥1 person in their household (4.0% exclusive e-cig use, 8.3% dual use with regular cigarettes). An additional 17.3% (109) reported regular cigarette use. Most respondents from e-cig-using homes did not think e-cigs were addictive (36.9% minimally or not addictive, 25.0% did not know). While 73.7% believed that e-liquid was very dangerous for children if they ingested it, only 31.2% believed skin contact to be very dangerous. In 36.1% of e-cig-using homes, neither childproof caps nor locks were used to prevent children's access to e-liquid. Only 15.3% reported their child's pediatrician was aware of e-cig use in the home.


      E-cig use occurred in 1 in 8 homes, often concurrently with regular cigarettes. Many parents who used e-cigs were unaware of the potential health and safety hazards, including nicotine poisoning for children, and many did not store e-liquid safely. Pediatricians could provide education about e-cig associated safety hazards but are unaware of e-cig use in their patient's homes.


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      Linked Article

      • Tobacco Exposure and Children: A Changing Landscape
        Academic PediatricsVol. 15Issue 6
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          Three excellent articles in this month's issue of Academic Pediatrics highlight the constant challenge and ever-evolving landscape of tobacco control. We have made great strides since Dr Julius B. Richmond, in his tenure as Surgeon General, first recognized the impact that secondhand smoke (SHS) has on nonsmokers. In 1965, 42% of the US adult population smoked cigarettes, compared to 17.8% in 2013. However, as the prevalence decreases, we are seeing smaller declines in smoking rates each year, and many providers are finding that those who do smoke are harder to help to quit.
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