The article "E-cigarette use in England 2014-17 as a function of socio-economic profile" provides an analysis of the associations between e-cigarette use and socio-economic status (SES) in England from 2014 to 2017. While the study provides valuable insights into the patterns of e-cigarette use among different SES groups, it has some limitations and potential biases that need to be addressed.
One potential bias is the reliance on self-reported data, which may be subject to recall bias and social desirability bias. Moreover, the study only includes adults who participated in a household survey, which may not be representative of all e-cigarette users in England. The study also does not provide information on the reasons for using e-cigarettes or the types of products used, which could affect their effectiveness and health outcomes.
The article suggests that e-cigarette use was greater among smokers from higher SES groups compared with lower SES groups, but this difference attenuated over time. However, this conclusion is based on limited evidence and does not account for other factors that could influence e-cigarette use, such as age, gender, and smoking history. The study also found that e-cigarette use during a quit attempt showed no clear temporal or socio-economic patterns, which suggests that e-cigarettes may be equally effective for smokers from different SES groups.
However, the study's findings regarding long-term ex-smokers are more concerning. The authors report that e-cigarette use increased over time among all groups but was consistently more common in lower SES groups. This raises questions about whether these individuals are using e-cigarettes as a long-term substitute for smoking or if they are becoming addicted to nicotine through their use of these products.
Overall, while this study provides some useful insights into the patterns of e-cigarette use among different SES groups in England, it has several limitations and potential biases that need to be considered when interpreting its findings. Further research is needed to better understand the reasons for e-cigarette use and its potential health effects, particularly among vulnerable populations.