Are We Moving in the Right Direction?

Vaper’s Vortex

June 10, 2015

“The Universe provides the opportunities but it’s up to us to take them.”

May 25, 2015

The U.K.’s Action on Smoking and Health announces that there are 2.6 million vapers in the U.K. An increase of 500,000 over the preceding year.

June 8, 2015

New York Gov. Cuomo announces: “With the lowest smoking rate in recorded history, it’s clear that New York State is becoming healthier than ever.” The NY adult smoking rate, 14.5%. The national average, 17.8%.

Smoking among NY high school students dropped 42% over the last four years and now stands at 7.2%.

June 10, 2015

The results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll show that 10% of U.S. adults now vape. That represents a quadrupling of American vapers in just over a year – from 2.6% in 2013 to 10% today.

The poll also found that 70% of current users started in the last year and about three quarters are dual users. Almost 50% of vapers said they tried vaping because of suggestions by friends or family. 80% indicated they believed it was a good option for smoking cessation. And vapers were twice as likely as the general population to believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking.

Out of 5,679 Americans surveyed between May 19th and June 4th, 15% of users under the age of 40 now vape at least some of the time.

Bonnie Herzog from Wells Fargo Securities estimates the U.S. will see a 40% increase in demand for “vapor devices” with sales increasing from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $3.5 billion this year. Vape shops have increased to more than 15,000. Herzog estimates that more than half of total sales will be vapor tanks and personal vaporizers.


The published results of the poll does not indicate the age range (beyond “adult”) of the respondents who were surveyed. A conservative estimate of 10% of U.S. adults, over 18 and under 65, would be 10 million Americans who are vaping. The numbers are encouraging. Certainly closer and more detailed studies will follow this poll. The sampling size of the poll is small. Too small to justify many broad conclusions.

Anti-tobacco, anti-nicotine advocates in public health will likely be quick to remind us that electronic cigarettes are not safe. Long term health risks are unknown. Probably won’t be known for years. Possibly for decades.

E-cigarettes don’t have to be safe. Just safe-er. Millions have quit smoking using a safer alternative. If 25% of those 10 million Americans are successful quitters, that will add another 2.5 million. The resulting harm reduction is indisputable.

What we know and what we are seeing is that “quit or die” is not an answer. It is not a realistic option. It is not justified, defensible or in the interest of public health. In short, it is not acceptable.

There are 45 million smokers in the U.S. Victory cannot be claimed based on these latest numbers. They are not conclusive. They are short on science. And long on statistical uncertainty. There is still much work to be done and progress to be made.

Still, 10 million think it’s a step in the right direction.


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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

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