E-cigarette use in Greece is largely confined to current or former smokers, that’s according to findings from a new study published in the Harm Reduction Journal.

The study also shows vaping nicotine by non-smokers is “extremely rare.”

The research was carried out in Greece in the second-half of last year and involved a cross-sectional survey of 4,058 adults living in Attica.

Having conducted phone interviews with participants, the prevalence and frequency of e-cigarette use were assessed according to smoker status and a logistical analysis was performed to identify correlation of use.

The findings show that the majority of current e-cigarette users are former smokers, with 32.6% of participants saying they regularly smoke cigarettes.

Of that percentage, more than half of smokers said they had tried or were at the time trying e-cigarettes.

“Current smoking was reported by 32.6% of participants. Ever e-cigarette use was reported by 54.1% (51.4–56.8%) of current smokers, 24.1% (21.7–26.5%) of former smokers and 6.5% (5.3–7.7%) of never smokers.”

Historically, Greece has a high prevalence of smoking and has been ranked among the highest smoking rates within the European Union. According to previous studies cited by the Greek researchers, in 2002, the prevalence of smoking in the EU stood at 39.2% while it was 42% in Greece. Twelve years later in 2014 smoking rates in the EU dropped to 26% –  a 34% drop since 2002 – while there was only a 10% reduction in Greece in the same time-frame.

This new research also shows that most participants overestimate the harmfulness of e-cigarettes relative to smoking. While e-cigarettes have grown in popularity, there was no prior Greece-based research until now.