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Motivations for use, identity and the vaper subculture: a qualitative study of the experiences of Western Australian vapers.
BMC Public Health. 2020 Oct 15; 20(1):1552.BP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Vaping is a relatively new practice, and therefore its symbolic meanings and social practices are yet to be fully understood, especially within Australia where the practice is strictly regulated. This study aimed to examine vapers motivations for use, reinforcing influences, and association with the vaper subculture.

METHODS

Working from a constructivist epistemology and a symbolic interaction framework, in-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 37 current (89%) and former (11%) adult vapers, 70% male, mean age of 32.5. Data was analysed via thematic analysis.

RESULTS

Vapers largely started vaping to quit smoking and underwent common experiences during their initiation phase. Subsequently, vapers tended to adopt one of two dominant identities, that of the 'cloud chaser' or the 'substitute', which some users moved between during different stages of their vaping career. The social and symbolic meaning of e-cigarettes and vaping varied and involved concepts of harm reduction, addiction, pleasure, stigma and community, and for some, connection to the vaper subculture.

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding the complexities of vaping, and the nuanced differences of 'cloud chasers' and 'substitute' vapers may have important implications for health communication, research and policy. E-cigarette users within this sample were not a homogeneous group and differed in their motivations for use, association with the vaper subculture and relationship with the vape community. These findings provide new insights into the socialisation process and subsequent identity adoption of vapers within the unique regulatory environment of Western Australia.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, 6102, Australia. kahlia.mccausland@curtin.edu.au.Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, 6102, Australia.School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia.School of Marketing, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia.School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, 6102, Australia. Present affiliation: College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter, Devon, South West England, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33059652

Citation

McCausland, Kahlia, et al. "Motivations for Use, Identity and the Vaper Subculture: a Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Western Australian Vapers." BMC Public Health, vol. 20, no. 1, 2020, p. 1552.
McCausland K, Jancey J, Leaver T, et al. Motivations for use, identity and the vaper subculture: a qualitative study of the experiences of Western Australian vapers. BMC Public Health. 2020;20(1):1552.
McCausland, K., Jancey, J., Leaver, T., Wolf, K., Freeman, B., & Maycock, B. (2020). Motivations for use, identity and the vaper subculture: a qualitative study of the experiences of Western Australian vapers. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1552. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09651-z
McCausland K, et al. Motivations for Use, Identity and the Vaper Subculture: a Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Western Australian Vapers. BMC Public Health. 2020 Oct 15;20(1):1552. PubMed PMID: 33059652.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Motivations for use, identity and the vaper subculture: a qualitative study of the experiences of Western Australian vapers. AU - McCausland,Kahlia, AU - Jancey,Jonine, AU - Leaver,Tama, AU - Wolf,Katharina, AU - Freeman,Becky, AU - Maycock,Bruce, Y1 - 2020/10/15/ PY - 2020/07/06/received PY - 2020/10/07/accepted PY - 2020/10/16/entrez PY - 2020/10/17/pubmed PY - 2021/2/2/medline KW - Australia KW - E-cigarettes KW - Identity KW - Qualitative KW - Subculture KW - Vapers SP - 1552 EP - 1552 JF - BMC public health JO - BMC Public Health VL - 20 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Vaping is a relatively new practice, and therefore its symbolic meanings and social practices are yet to be fully understood, especially within Australia where the practice is strictly regulated. This study aimed to examine vapers motivations for use, reinforcing influences, and association with the vaper subculture. METHODS: Working from a constructivist epistemology and a symbolic interaction framework, in-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 37 current (89%) and former (11%) adult vapers, 70% male, mean age of 32.5. Data was analysed via thematic analysis. RESULTS: Vapers largely started vaping to quit smoking and underwent common experiences during their initiation phase. Subsequently, vapers tended to adopt one of two dominant identities, that of the 'cloud chaser' or the 'substitute', which some users moved between during different stages of their vaping career. The social and symbolic meaning of e-cigarettes and vaping varied and involved concepts of harm reduction, addiction, pleasure, stigma and community, and for some, connection to the vaper subculture. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the complexities of vaping, and the nuanced differences of 'cloud chasers' and 'substitute' vapers may have important implications for health communication, research and policy. E-cigarette users within this sample were not a homogeneous group and differed in their motivations for use, association with the vaper subculture and relationship with the vape community. These findings provide new insights into the socialisation process and subsequent identity adoption of vapers within the unique regulatory environment of Western Australia. SN - 1471-2458 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33059652/Motivations_for_use_identity_and_the_vaper_subculture:_a_qualitative_study_of_the_experiences_of_Western_Australian_vapers_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -