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Stealth Use of Electronic Cigarettes in Smoke-Free Areas in South Korea
J Korean Soc Res Nicotine Tob 2020; 11(2): 75-83
Published online December 15, 2020
© 2020 The Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Hyun Jung Lee, Hong Jun Cho*

Department of Family Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: 議고솉以
슱궛븰援 쓽怨쇰븰 꽌슱븘궛蹂묒썝 媛젙쓽븰怨
Received September 8, 2020; Revised October 19, 2020; Accepted October 20, 2020.
This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, dis-tribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: Electronic cigarettes (ECs) were introduced in South Korea in 2008. ECs are devices that vaporize a solution that the user then inhales unlike combustible cigarettes (CCs) where tobacco leaves are burnt. Therefore, stealth use of ECs could be easier than stealth use of CCs since they produce less odor and smoke. This study aims to examine the use of ECs and factors associated with this trend.
Methods: The online panel survey was conducted on 7,000 adults (males 2,300; females 4,700; age, 20-69 years) from November 3, 2018 to November 9, 2018. Females were oversampled given the very low prevalence of tobacco use among women in Korea. Furthermore, multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted on stealth use of ECs, adjusted for sociodemographic variables and notion for using ECs in indoor public places.
Results: In Korea, 83.5% of smokers experienced stealth use of ECs in areas where smoking was prohibited. The online survey shows that users of triple tobacco products including CCs, ECs, and heated tobacco products are more likely to have experienced stealth use than EC single users (OR 2.75, 95% CI 1.48-5.48). In addition, people who answered 쏽es to the question of whether ECs are allowed in the non-smoking area are more likely to have experienced the stealth use of ECs than those who answered 쏯o or 쏧 don셳 know (OR 2.97, 95% CI 1.69-5.22).
Conclusion: Stealth use is common among EC users, especially triple users and those who are not aware of the EC use are also prohibited in indoor public places.
Keywords : E-cigarette; Stealth use; Smoke-free area; Triple users; Perception
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