Millions try E-cigarettes, but many stop

May 15, 2018 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Many folks are trying e-cigarettes, but not everyone is sticking with them, a new survey finds.

E-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, have been marketed as a way to help tobacco smokers quit smoking and as an alternative to cigarettes. Although the number of U.S. adults who tried them between 2014 and 2016 soared, those who continued to use them dropped, researchers found.

"The decline in current use, but increase in those who have tried e-cigarettes, may suggest that some individuals are trying but not continuing use of e-cigarettes," said lead researcher Dr. Wei Bao. He's an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa.

It might be too soon, however, to draw conclusions about e-cigarette trends from just three years of data, he added.

"E-cigarette use among U.S. adults is changing over time," Bao said. "To understand the health impact of the changes in e-cigarette use, continued surveillance is needed."

To gauge the changes, Bao and his colleagues used data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey from 2014 to 2016.

Bao's team collected data on more than 100,000 men and women who were asked about their use of e-cigarettes, also called "vaping."

The number of people who tried e-cigarettes grew by nearly 13 percent in 2014, 14 percent in 2015 and 15 percent in 2016, the researchers found.

But over the same time period, the number of those still using e-cigarettes dropped by 3.7 percent in 2014, 3.5 percent in 2015, and 3.2 percent in 2016.

The decrease was significant among adults aged 65 and older, women, whites, those with low incomes and those who smoked regular cigarettes, the findings showed.

However, the use of e-cigarettes increased among former smokers and adults who had never smoked, Bao said.

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, believes the findings provide evidence that e-cigarettes are helping people quit tobacco.

"This study should give great pause to those who have used shoddy science to claim that vaping does not help smokers quit," he said.

According to Conley, more than 2.6 million ex-smokers are vaping.

"This translates into hundreds of millions of packs of cigarettes that are not being smoked each year. This number would be even higher but for the relentless campaign to mislead the public about vaping products," Conley said.

One specialist who has researched e-cigarettes disagreed.

"It's good that e-cigarette use is starting to drop," said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education.

But, "the net effect e-cigarettes are having is to keep people smoking cigarettes," Glantz said.

The increase in e-cigarette use among former smokers and those who have never smoked is troubling, Glantz added. "It's just expanding the tobacco epidemic," he said.

Glantz also questions whether e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. "For most people, e-cigarettes make it harder to quit smoking," he said.

Some people have used e-cigarettes and successfully quit tobacco. But among all adults trying to quit, using e-cigarettes makes it 20 percent less likely they will quit, compared with those who don't use them, Glantz said.

"So, while they are promoted as a smoking-cessation aid, they actually make it harder to quit smoking," he said.

E-cigarettes are also popular among many teens, leading health experts to worry that the devices could be creating a new generation of smokers.

The report was published May 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Explore further: Nearly two-thirds of smokers also use E-cigarettes: CDC

More information: Journal of the American Medical Association (2018). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.4658

Related Stories

Nearly two-thirds of smokers also use E-cigarettes: CDC

October 31, 2016
(HealthDay)—Many American adults who use electronic cigarettes also smoke tobacco cigarettes, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey reveals.

E-cigarettes may help adults switch from conventional cigarettes but encourage smoking among teens

January 25, 2018
E-cigarettes can be highly addictive, and kids who use them are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes, concluded a panel of public health experts.

More than two million now regularly using electronic cigarettes in Britain

April 29, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The number of adults in Britain who use electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has tripled over the past two years, from an estimated 700,000 users in 2012 to 2.1 million in 2014, according to survey data ...

Vaping may be bad for kids, good for adults: study

January 23, 2018
Vaping, or smoking battery powered devices known as e-cigarettes, may encourage youths to start smoking but may also help adults quit, said a US review of scientific research out Tuesday.

E-cigarettes doing more harm than good: study

March 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—Electronic cigarettes do little to help smokers quit, and could actually increase the likelihood that teens and young adults will start smoking, a new study suggests.

Young parents who use e-cigarettes believe devices are safer for those around them

May 4, 2014
Many young parents are using electronic cigarettes, and despite any evidence for safety, the vast majority of young adults who have used the devices believe they are less harmful than regular cigarettes, according to research ...

Recommended for you

Don't eat bitter pumpkin, study warns after women lose hair

May 25, 2018
A doctor warned Friday that bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, after two women were poisoned by their dinners and lost most of their hair.

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

May 24, 2018
A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit 160 degrees in about ...

Research finds a little exercise does a lot of good for ageing muscles

May 24, 2018
Getting old doesn't necessarily mean getting weak and frail – just a little bit of exercise can help maintain muscle mass and strength, Otago research has revealed.

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

May 23, 2018
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aids ...

What makes us well? Diversity, health care, and public transit matter

May 23, 2018
Diverse neighbors. Health centers. Commuter trains. These community attributes, and other key factors, are linked to well-being and quality of life, according to Yale researchers.

Widely used e-cigarette flavoring impairs lung function

May 23, 2018
A new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavoring that has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke disrupts an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defense system. The ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.