People who welcome e-cigarettes as an alternative to the conventional kind hope they will help smokers quit, thereby dramatically reducing the health risks they face. People who fear e-cigarettes worry that vaping will encourage smoking among people who otherwise never would have tried tobacco by getting them hooked on nicotine. New survey data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide evidence that top officials at that agency are wrong to favor the latter view.
According to the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, 13 percent of American adults have tried an e-cigarette, including 48 percent of current smokers, 55 percent of “recent” quitters (defined as respondents who had last smoked less than a year before the survey), 9 percent of “long-term” quitters (defined as respondents who had last smoked a year or more before the survey), and just 3 percent of people who have never smoked. The same survey found that 4 percent of adults were current e-cigarettes users (meaning they vaped “every day” or “some days”), including 16 percent of current smokers, 22 percent of recent quitters, 2 percent of long-term quitters, and just 0.4 percent of never-smokers.