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Americans Think Vaping is Less Harmful than Smoking

Americans Think Vaping is Less Harmful than Smoking


Americans Think Vaping is Less Harmful than Smoking


Two new polls released by Gallup offer good news when it comes to the state of vaping in America. The surveys address a pair of topics: harm reduction and a generational shift away from cigarettes and towards vaping. Broadly speaking, Gallup finds that Americans believe vaping is less harmful than smoking, and young people are far less likely to pick up smoking as a habit, substituting vaping instead.

The first poll found that most Americans agree with the suggestion vaping is less harmful than smoking, drawing data from 1,033 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It found that a majority of people find cigarettes, cigars, and pipes to be very harmful, while far fewer say the same for vaping.

In total, 82 percent of Americans believe cigarettes are “very harmful.” After combustible cigarettes, a majority of people also said the same about chewing tobacco (71 percent), cigars (56 percent), and pipes (52 percent). This contrasts starkly with their view on vapor products. Only 38 percent of people, less than half the number commenting on tobacco cigarettes, found vapor products "very harmful."    


There was also another category which looked at which products are “somewhat harmful.” Nearly all Americans view cigarettes (96 percent) and chewing tobacco (94 percent) as somewhat harmful or worse, while 73 percent still say the same about vaping. This distinction between “very harmful” and “somewhat harmful” muddies the waters when it comes to reading the data, but at its core it shows that people are far more accepting and realistic about the effects of vaping on the whole, and it also recognizes that vapor advocates' long-standing argument that vaping is a "harm reduction" activity when compared with the alternative of smoking and not a "harm elimination" strategy is taking hold.

The second poll focused on vaping habits, reporting that one in five people under 30 vape occasionally, while smoking rates among adults under thirty have plummeted in the last decade. The findings observe that “because young people have become much less likely to smoke in recent years, it's possible that vaping is functioning as a substitute, which, if true, may have positive health implications.”

It's also worth noting here that traditionally, adults aged 18 to 29 were far likelier than older groups to smoke. Now, smoking rates are actually higher in both the 30-49 and 50-64 age brackets than they are among younger adults.

The survey reported that nine percent of all adult Americans say they’ve used vapor products before, but among young adults from 18 to 29 years old, that number goes up to about 20 percent. Gallup’s report argues that it’s possible that the rise in popularity of vapor products could have caused the the drop in cigarette smoking.

In relating both polls to each other young people have, by and large, taken a much more positive view of vaping than the previous generation. In the second poll, the survey found that only 22 percent of those surveyed under the age of third thought that vaping was “very harmful” to health, compared to 40 percent above the age of 30. While a negative stigma is still attached to vapor products by many, the tide seems to be turning. That's always a good thing.