Some 7.8 million American adults used e-cigarettes in 2016, according to data from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey, the source for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national smoking estimates.
That is about 500,000 fewer than a year earlier, and 1.1 million fewer than in 2014, the first year NHIS surveyed for vaping. As the CDC reported a month ago, the 2016 data indicates 3.2 percent adult prevalence – 3.9 percent (about 4.5 million) for men, and 2.6 percent (about 3.3 million) for women.
The 2.62 million former smokers who are current vapers comprised an increasing percentage of all vapers, from 22 percent in 2014, to almost 34 percent in 2016. This is more evidence that smokers are using e-cigarettes to quit their habit. As the following chart shows, 87 percent of former smokers currently using e-cigarettes quit in the last five years, suggesting that e-cigarettes played a significant role.
Meanwhile, 13 percent of former-smoker/current-vapers quit more than six years ago. The CDC admits that relapse among former smokers is common, so health advocates should applaud these former smokers’ choice of e-cigarettes over far more dangerous cigarettes.
As noted previously, the 2.6 million former smokers represent more than mere anecdotal evidence; their documented experience ought to carry substantial weight with government policymakers.
In view of the important positive health implications of switching to smoke-free products, the number of former smokers ought to be growing faster. Unfortunately, the sustained war on all smoke-free products is likely suppressing broader transition away from cigarettes.
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