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Large-Scale Surveys Show That Between 3.2 and 4.3 Million Vapers No Longer Regularly Smoke Cigarettes

Two large-scale surveys presented during the annual meeting of the Society for Research on  Nicotine and Tobacco reported that there are now around 15-21 million vapers in the United States, 3.2-4.3 millions of which no longer regularly smoke cigarettes.

e-cigsThere was a lot of research presented at the 2015 SRNT meeting, at the end of February, but two particular surveys on the tobacco use pattern among adult e-cigarette users were particularly interesting reads. By analyzing data from the Total Tobacco Migration Tracker (2008-present) and National Tobacco Behavior Monitor (2010-present) –  cross-sectional surveys that collect national data on demographic characteristics and behaviors of adult tobacco users, including e-cigarette users – and using the 2013 US Census of 242.5 million adults for estimates, researchers found that between 6.1% (14.8 million) and 8.7% (21.1 million) of the American population reported regular use of electronic cigarettes between 2013 and 2014.

Analyzed data from the TTM survey indicates that among the 6.1% regular e-cigarette users, 91.1% (13.5 million) reported ever/regular use of tobacco cigarettes, among whom 97.1% (13.1 million) reported regular use of e-cigarettes after regular use of cigarettes. Of these, 24.5 (3.2 million) reported no longer smoking cigarettes regularly. The survey also found that smoker were 13.5 times more likely to transition to regular electronic cigarette use than current regular e-cig users were to transition to regular cigarette use, which accounted for just 1.7% (0.2 million) of those who reported ever regular cigarette use and current e-cigarette use.

The analysis of NTBM data yielded similar results. It showed that of the 8.7% regular e-cigarette users, 89.0% (18.7 million) reported ever/regular cigarette smoking, among whom 97.1% (18.2 million) reported regular e-cig use after regular cigarette smoking. Of these, 23.7% (4.3 million) reported no longer regularly smoking cigarettes. Researchers found that ever/regular smokers were 17.2 times more likely to transition to regular e-cigarette use than ever regular e-cigarette users were to transition to regular cigarette use, which accounted for just 1.3% (0.2 million) of those who reported ever regular use of cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

All this scientific language makes the very important findings a bit hard to fully understand, so let’s go through them again in a simple bullet list:

– between 15 and 21 million US citizens regularly used electronic cigarettes between 2013 and 2014;

– between 3.2 and 4.3 million vapers reported no longer regularly smoking tobacco cigarettes;

– around 90% of vapers were/are regular cigarette smokers.

These findings not only confirm that electronic cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit or cut back on the number of smoked cigarettes, but also contradict the theory that electronic cigarettes act as a gateway to smoking. Statistics clearly show it’s exactly the other way around.

Surprisingly, the Tobacco Use Patterns Among Adult Current and Ever Regular E-Cigarette Users study presented at this year’s SRNT meeting was funded by Reynolds American Inc., one of the world’s largest tobacco companies and maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes. Although it has launched its own brand of electronic cigarettes, the VUSE, Reynolds can’t be suspected of trying to favor e-cigarettes in any way

Unsurprisingly, SRNT conference planners buried the study on page 330 of the event schedule abstract, making it almost impossible to find. So a big shout-out goes to Bill Godshall, Executive Director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, who dug it up and shared it with fellow vapers on the ever-informative E-Cigarette Forum (ECF).

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