Most vapers are young and heavy smokers
New study suggests that most vapers are young, heavy smokers who are trying to quit!
One of the biggest reasons for the outcry against E-cigs among electronic cigarette opponents is that some people believe that they will cause non-smokers to become addicted to nicotine.
Of course, people often cite this as a reason to further regulate E-cigs, claiming that the potential for young people to get addicted to tobacco skyrockets when E-cigs are made so readily available.
There are, however, many different opinions about this fear, and some go as far as to say that it is unfounded. Admittedly, evidence hasn’t really proven either opinion, though a new study conducted in Europe may actually shed some light on who is actually using E-cigs and why they are using them.
Who is vaping?
This is a very key question. Of course, if teens are vaping because E-cigs are easier to obtain than cigarettes, then there could admittedly be a problem. After all, we don’t want kids getting hooked on nicotine… that would definitely be a negative thing.
But if e-cigs are mostly being used by people who have already gotten addicted to nicotine through cigarette use but who are now trying to kick the habit, then making E-cigs too difficult to obtain may actually hinder progress by making them needlessly inaccessible to people who could really use them.
So what is the true answer?
As it turns out, a study conducted by Constantine Vardavas (read more about Constantine and his work here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/constantine-vardavas ) at the Harvard School of Public Health seems to indicate that a lot of E-cig users are indeed heavy smokers who have tried at least once to kick their analog habit over the past year.
According to the data that he compiled, which came from 26,500 people in 27 different European countries in 2012, it turns out that E-cig use was highest in the 15 to 24 year old age range. There was, however, very little evidence supporting the fact that E-cigs are encouraging younger people to pick up analog cigarettes. Instead, the opposite seemed to be true.
Of course, this data by itself is not necessarily conclusive, but it seems to add to a larger picture that makes a case for the fact that E-cigs are not causing young people to get addicted to cigarettes.
Here are some of the findings…
- 20% of smokers had tried E-cigs at least one time
- 4% of ex-smokers had tried E-cigs at least once
- 1.1% of non-smokers had tried E-cigs at least once
- Smokers who had tried to quit smoking within the past 12 months were twice as likely to have tried using E-cigs than other smokers
- E-cig use was found to be more common in analog smokers who smoked at least 6 cigarettes per day than in individuals whose daily cigarette intake was 5 or fewer
You can read more about this research here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25739-ecig-users-are-young-heavy-smokers-trying-to-quit.html#.U7xLL8JOW01. .
So What Does This All Mean?
One cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, Greece, by the name of Konstantinos Farsalinos, seems to be among those who believe the findings are positive.
“This study verifies that e-cigarette use does not renormalise smoking,” he said in a statement about the research. “The results show minimal adoption by non-smokers.”
These finding do indeed seem to line up with what many have been saying all along… that E-cigs can actually help people to kick their smoking habit and that they should not be blamed for getting young people addicted to cigarettes.
Of course, the controversy is far from over. We can probably expect to see this discussion continue onward into the future for quite some time. New e-cig regulation will be set into motion in 2016, so in a lot of ways the outcry for further regulation has been met, though there are still some who are skeptical about whether or not E-cig use is something that has anything good to offer the community.
Many facts, however, seem to paint a different picture. It would seem, by many indications (this study included), that E-cigs could definitely play a participatory role in helping to eliminate analog cigarette use and that they could continue to provide a cleaner, healthier substitute for tobacco products among those already battling nicotine addiction.
At this point, it seems hard to imagine that writing off E-cigs completely would lead to something good. As it is, evidence continues to point toward what many people have long suspected—that E-cigs could indeed be a silver-bullet against nicotine addiction in ways that the gum and patches could never be.