Study: Nearly All Vapers Are Former Smokers

A recent online poll has found that an overwhelming majority of consumers who use vaping products are former smokers, and they rank convenience as important when using the products.

The findings are part of the 2017 Vaper Preference Survey, an online poll of more than 650 respondents conducted on behalf of Mistic E-Cigs and The Vaping Advocate.

When asked what is the most important attribute they look for in a vaping device, 29 percent of vapers say price is the top attribute, followed by performance/battery (27 percent), ease of use (19 percent), vapor production (10 percent), and size (3 percent).

Preferences do differ, according to the survey, when drilling down to user types. Notably, mod users rank performance/battery (42 percent) as their top device attribute, while only 16 percent favor price.

In addition, cig-alike users look for price (31 percent), although 27 percent favor performance/battery and 20 percent cite ease of use.

“Vapers demand a fulfilling experience that is hassle-free and that’s why we’ve seen a proliferation of pod-type systems to hit the market,” said John Wiesehan Jr., CEO of Mistic. “What’s really interesting is that our survey revealed 67 percent of mod and mechanical mod users saying convenience is very important when using a vaping device.”

Looking at e-liquids, 43 percent of survey respondents cited taste as the top quality. And while 27 percent of respondents “don’t know,” or cite other reasons for their top e-liquid characteristics, 11 percent favor ingredient quality, followed by nicotine content (8 percent), and price (7 percent). Origin of manufacture and PG/VG levels ranked lowest.

According to the survey, tastes also differ with age. Vapers 65 and older favor tobacco (47 percent) and menthol (37 percent) over fruit (3 percent) and dessert/custard profiles (1 percent), while those users between 25-34 prefer fruit (35 percent) and dessert/custard (18 percent) over menthol (12 percent) and tobacco (6 percent).

The survey also revealed that nearly half of all mod users prefer desert/custard and fruit flavors, compared to closed cig-alike users who choose tobacco and menthol as their top choices.

As for shopping experience of choice, 55 percent of all vapers prefer to shop online for their vaping needs. Notably, 65 percent of vapers ages 65 and older choose online shopping as their most preferred way to shop, compared to 37 percent of vapers ages 25-34.

However, vapers do switch it up, according to the survey. Forty-one percent of adults ages 25-34 like to shop in vape shops alone. Overall, the survey found that 31 percent of vapers say they like to shop both online and at brick-and-mortar stores, while the same percentage of mod users prefer shopping in vape shops.

The survey also found that 39 percent of respondents first learned about vaping from family/friends, followed by advertising (23 percent), word of mouth (16 percent), and internet searches (9 percent).

Only 5 percent of vapers say they were first introduced to vaping through social media.

“Our survey captured the impact personal connections have on our industry,” said Gabriel Benson, founder, The Vaping Advocate. “While marketing and social media are important at building brands, it’s important not to forget the value of trust that exists among family and friends educating smokers about vaping.”

Overall, the survey found that 96 percent of respondents are former smokers; eight out of 10 have been vaping more than two years; and 12 percent have been vaping for more than one year.

Additionally, 80 percent of all former smokers surveyed say they switched to vaping to stop smoking, while 11 percent say to cut down cigarette usage.

For longer-term vapers (those that have been vaping for more than two years), 97 percent say they are former smokers, while 89 percent of them say vaping helped them stop smoking cigarettes. Also, 83 percent of longer-term vapers switched to vaping to stop smoking, compared to only 11 percent who say they wanted to cut down/supplement their cigarette usage.

The survey also found that of the 7 percent of respondents reporting dual use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, 58 percent spend more time vaping, compared to 14 percent who spend more time smoking.

It also revealed that 14 percent of vapers spend little time smoking, while the same percentage spend equal amounts of time vaping and smoking. Coincidentally, 60 percent of dual users say they started vaping to cut down/supplement their cigarette use, while 40 percent say they wanted to stop smoking completely.

The online poll also took a look at industry optimism, finding that 83 percent of those who work or own a business in the vapor industry are optimistic about the category’s future, compared with 60 percent of non-industry vapers.

The trend continues when it comes to uncertainty: 34 percent of vapers are unsure of vaping’s future, although that number drops to 10 percent among business owners and those that work in the industry.

The 2017 Vaper Snapshot Survey was a joint project of Mistic E-Cigs and The Vaping Advocate to learn more about vaping preferences and industry trends. More than 650 men and women ages 18 and over participated in the non-scientific survey during March 28 to April 10.

Charlotte-based Mistic E-Cigs is the largest independent manufacturer of vapor products including mods, personal vaporizers, cig-alikes, pod systems and e-liquids.


CDC report shows more smokers try to quit with e-cigs than nicotine replacement products

Federal health regulators continue to de-emphasize electronic cigarettes and vaporizers as smoking-cessation options even as they acknowledge increased use of the products for that purpose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday a 26-month study of 15,943 adult cigarette smokers. It was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

The goal was determining what may be the most effective ways of quitting smoking among 10 common methods.

The study determined that 74.7 percent of survey participants used multiple methods during their most recent quit attempt.

“Giving up cigarettes all at once (65.3 percent) and reducing the number of cigarettes smoked (62 percent) were the most prevalent methods,” the CDC said.

When it came to a potential smoking-cessation device, substituting some cigarettes with e-cigs (35.3 percent) was used by a greater percentage of smokers than the nicotine patch or gum (25.4 percent) or other cessation aids approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Switching completely from cigarettes to e-cigs was used by 24.7 percent. Other quit methods were: getting help from a doctor or health professional (15.2 percent), using smoking-cessation medications approved by the FDA (12.2 percent), help from a website (7.1 percent) or quitline (5.4 percent).

“Given that our data show that e-cigarettes are more commonly used for quit attempts than FDA-approved medications, further research is warranted on the safety and effectiveness of using e-cigarettes to quit smoking,” the CDC said.

“There is no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are effective for long-term cessation of cigarette smoking. E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA as a smoking cessation aid.”

The CDC said FDA-approved medications “have helped smokers to quit, in many instances doubling the likelihood of success.”

“We found that most smokers who are switching to e-cigarettes or ‘mild’ cigarettes are not switching completely. These smokers are not stopping their cigarette smoking.”

Lack of clarity

Analysts question whether the study will help resolve, or add to, the lack of clarity on whether e-cigs and vaporizers should be used or recommended as a quit device.

Some studies, including one by the Royal College of Physicians, have claimed e-cigs and vaporizers are up to 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The Royal College’s study on traditional cigarettes played a key role in the landmark 1964 surgeon general’s determination on the harmful effects of smoking.

“The CDC has finally acknowledged the popularity of vaping,” said Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and an anti-smoking advocate.

“This study documents that vaping is American smokers’ most popular quit-smoking aid, despite a broad misinformation campaign labeling e-cigarettes as neither safe nor effective.”

Rodu said the study shows that “far fewer smokers use FDA-approved aids, which have been promoted by federal health authorities for many years.”

“Smokers know that, while safe, they are decidedly ineffective.”

Harold Wimmer, president and chief executive of the American Lung Association, said “it’s important to understand that this study ranks cessation methods according to the most common ways people try to quit, (and) not the effectiveness of those methods.”

Wimmer accused e-cig manufacturers of “making unproven quit smoking claims about their products,” even though the major e-cig manufacturers, such as R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., NuMark and Fontem Ventures, have not made such claims.

“It is imperative that those ready to quit receive accurate information about evidence-based cessation methods and get the support they need to quit for good,” Wimmer said.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, claimed the American Lung Association was “feigning outrage” with the CDC results.

“A prior CDC study showed that among smokers who had successfully quit in the prior year, nearly one-fourth were current users of e-cigarettes, a finding that cuts against the outdated claim that there is no evidence that vapor products help smokers get off combustible tobacco products,” Conley said.

David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and the author of several e-cig studies, said the CDC report validates the notion that “an increasing number of smokers are using e-cigarettes in their efforts to quit smoking.”

He said he is disappointed that “ideology or financial conflicts may be blinding (the American Lung Association) to the enormous public health gains that can come from giving smokers additional viable options for saving their lives.”

“They need to be facilitating rather than impeding informed choices about those options.”

The low usage of quitlines as a smoking-cessation method could spur a public policy change in some states, analysts said.

In 2011, the Republican-controlled General Assembly abolished the N.C. Health and Wellness Fund after 10 years as part of an attempt at resolving the state’s budget gap at that time. The average annual spending on tobacco-prevention programs had been $17.3 million.

Since 2012, the only annual dedicated state funding toward tobacco-prevention programs has been $1.1 million for the QuitlineNC program.

Wimmer said the association “believes that smokers should have access to all proven quit smoking treatments, and that health plans should not impose barriers like cost-sharing or limit the number of quit attempts per year or lifetime.”

In December, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, sounded an alarm about e-cigs by saying there’s no safe use of the products for people younger than 25.

“There is confusion around e-cigs and youths; are they safe to use?” Murthy said in a presentation.

“We know enough right now to say that youth and young adults should not be using e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product, for that matter. Electronic cigarettes place a whole new generation at risk for nicotine addiction.”

Murthy acknowledged that his report didn’t aim to resolve the bigger public-health questions of whether e-cigs and vaporizers offer smokers a reduced-risk alternative to traditional cigarettes, or should they be regulated similarly to traditional cigarettes.

Murthy has said that e-cig technology should be embraced if evidence shows it can help smokers who otherwise have trouble quitting their habit.


Regulations could make e-cigarettes less effective for smoking cessation: Study

A recent study has shown that regulations imposed by certain countries may impact the effectiveness of using electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.

The use of E-cigarettes is on the rise worldwide and been the subject of debate on whether E-cigarettes are less harmful that regular cigarettes. Many people switch to E-cigarettes as a step-down smoking cessation tool to help them quit smoking.

Current evidence suggests E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes but studies have not been conducted on their long-term effects.

Researchers analyzed data from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey from 2010 to 2014 of more than 1,700 smokers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

At the time of the study, Canada and Australia had imposed significant restrictions on the sale and use of e-cigarettes, while the United States and United Kingdom had few restrictions.

Researchers compared quit attempts, cessation aids used and the length of smoking abstinence between the two sets of countries and found that sustained smoking cessation using e-cigarettes was more common in countries with less regulations than countries with significant regulations.

The United States and United Kingdom reported 73 percent of quitting attempts resulted in sustained cigarette cessation while only 32 percent were reported in Canada and Australia.

“The benefits of ECs [electronic cigarettes] for smoking cessation may be limited to those who reside in an environment where there are few restrictions on the retail sale and marketing of ECs,” Dr. Hua-Hie Yong, of the Cancer Council Victoria, said in a press release. “Developing an appropriate regulatory framework for ECs should be a priority so that the benefit of ECs for smoking cessation can be realized. Where the regulatory environment supports it, given the popularity of ECs, smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit using current approved methods should be offered the option of using ECs as short-term aids to quit smoking or replacing smoking with ECs for harm reduction purposes.”