Smoking rates plummet as vaping becomes more popular

A new study examining the relationship between vaping and smoking finds that cigarette smoking dramatically decreased between 2013 and 2017, just as e-cigarette use became more popular.

The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, looked at five different US surveys that covered the four year time frame.

The study’s senior author, David Levy, said: ‘We found a strong and consistent inverse relationship between vaping and smoking across the different datasets for both youth and young adults.’

‘This finding is important because it indicates the country experienced a major reduction in youth and young adult cigarette smoking when vaping became more popular.’

Data on youth and young adult cigarette use was obtained from five different, large scale national surveys. These surveys asked about vaping, some as early as 2011, and they indicate that vaping occurred at relatively low levels from 2011-2013, but at much higher levels by 2014.

‘We see that 2014 was a tipping point year when vaping became popular, and cigarette use then declines much more rapidly than in previous years,’ Levy says.

For example, trend analysis using the Monitoring the Future survey for 12th graders indicates a long-term annual relative reduction in (any last 30 day) smoking prevalence of 4.6 per cent with an additional 9.5 per cent annual reduction during the 2014-2017 vaping period, yielding a total annual relative reduction in smoking prevalence of 14.1 per cent during the vaping period.

‘The data paints a consistent picture of accelerated reductions in youth and young adult smoking prevalence as vaping becomes more widespread. Vaping has had a positive effect on reducing cigarette smoking. On a population level, any effect that vaping may have had act as a gateway to cigarette smoking during the time frame examined appears to be small relative to the effects of vaping leading to less smoking,’ Levy says.


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