New CDC research indicates most vapers are former smokers

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a department of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is reporting that the largest percentage of vapers are adult former smokers. Moreover, adults who have quit smoking within the past 12-months are said to have used electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid compared to those using more conventional nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges.

According to the NCHS Data Brief, approximately 8.1 million U.S. adults are current vapers, with younger adult white, non-Hispanic males being the most dominant demographic. An estimated 3.2 percent of the general population are self-professed vapers, which is a figure that remains relatively unchanged since 2016 when vaping was thought to be at its height of popularity.   

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The agency further estimates that about one in four adult vapers are ex-smokers, or about 25.2 percent.  Only 1.1 percent of those surveyed claimed to have never smoked a combustible tobacco cigarette in their lives. 

The remaining percentages can be largely attributed to occasional users and dual users – current smokers in transition to becoming former smokers through experimentation with electronic cigarettes. Taken in their totality, the figures seemingly contradict much of the anti-vaping rhetoric spreading on social media wrongly asserting that vaping is becoming a national epidemic.  

NCHS data shows men more likely to vape than women

The statistics presented in the new DCHS report illustrate the adult vaping habits for the year 2018.  The data also seems to indicate that the vaping community is not growing significantly in size since 2016.  Electronic e-cig use is not escalating.  It is stagnating.  In the specific section of the report related to electronic cigarette use, the NCHS issued the following statement.

“The percentage of adults who had ever used an e-cigarette (57.3%) and the percentage of adults who were current e-cigarette users (25.2%) was highest among former cigarette smokers who quit within the past year.  The percentage of adults who had ever used an e-cigarette or who were current e-cigarette users declined with a longer duration of quitting cigarettes among former smokers.
“The percentage of adults who had ever used an e-cigarette or who were current e-cigarette users was lowest among those who never smoked cigarettes (6.5% and 1.1%, respectively).”

The report also indicates that men are more likely to vape than women (17.8 percent versus 12.3 percent respectively).  Regarding socioeconomic conditions, U.S. adults are less likely to vape as their age and income increases.  Breaking down the vaping community by racial demographics, adult Caucasians lead the pack with 16.9 percent followed by Hispanics at 11.5 percent, non-Hispanic Asians at 10.2 percent, and non-Hispanic African Americans at 10.0 percent.

The findings published in the latest CDC/NCHS report are comparable to those found in the  National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) which also reveals that adult former smokers are the largest demographic of current vapers.

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