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One In Seven Americans Have Tried Vapor Products

One In Seven Americans Have Tried Vapor Products


A new study delivers the news that more U.S. adults are trying vapor products while fewer vapers are using their devices long-term. Underaged use of vapor products is also on the decline. These figures help to reinforce one important thing vapers have been saying for years: vapor is most popular among adults quitting smoking.

The new research, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that about 14% U.S. adults have tried vaping. However, only 3.2% of adults were current users in 2016, down from 3.5% in 2014. The inverse polarity between people that have used vapor and people that keep using vapor suggested to the researchers that adults who have tried vaping were using the practice to quit smoking, and then were able to eventually put down the vapor product.

Vapor products have successfully helped millions of smokers quit around the world, and it’s always good to see data that reinforces this fact. This also reflects the uptick in popularity of and accessibility to vapor products while disputing the idea that someone experimenting with vapor products immediately gets "hooked" and becomes a full-time vaper.    

This is a common reaction to vaping, though these new findings suggest it's one that may not make sense. It’s claimed by anti-smoking and anti-vapor advocates that vapor replaces an addictive nicotine product (combustible cigarettes) with another nicotine product (vapor), and that one is neither better nor worse than the other. However, the numbers don’t add up.  

Adults who said they have tried vaping at least once reached just over 15 percent in 2016, versus 12.6 percent in 2014. That means an estimated 33 million U.S. adults have tried vapor products. The figures analyzed came from annual U.S. government in-person surveys from 2014 to 2016 asking Americans aged 18 and older about health-related habits. In total, about 100,000 adults were involved.

By contrast, vapor product use amongst high schoolers and middle school students is declining significantly for the first time since 2011. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2016 use among high school students dropped from 16% to 11.3% and use among middle schoolers dropped from 5.3% to 4.3%. This decline in underaged use is in stark contrast to stories claiming that vapor use in school have been on the incline.

Another discovery in this research study was that long-term use of vapor products declined among current smokers, and increased among former smokers. One potential concern for the lead author and University of Iowa researcher Dr. Wei Bao was that the study showed that non-smoking adults trying vapor are on the rise. This number, however, could just as likely be attributed to people who began vaping to quit smoking and continued vaping after they'd successfully quit.

Research like this is important for the future of vapor in America. With lawmakers looking to data to justify taxes and prohibitions, the more new and raw data that accurately reflects the effects of the vapor industry, theoretically the more common-sense regulations will be.