Over the past few months, the ecig industry has experienced explosive growth, but it is most evident when you visit Hawaii. The CDC reports that 16.8 percent of adults in Hawaii are smokers, giving the Aloha state the third highest smoker rank in the country. With so many locals puffing on cigarettes, it was only a matter of time before ecigs became an island sensation. This week, Hawaii News Now reported that there are actually more vapers than smokers among the young adult population in Hawaii.
Pallav Pokhrel, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center noticed the fast paced growth of the vaping industry and he conducted a study to see just how many young adults were using ecigs. After recruiting 300 participants between ages 18 and 35, he found that 43 percent had tried an ecig with an astounding 28 percent reportedly trying their first ecig within the past 30 days. “Right now, it seems like electronic use is even higher among younger adults than cigarette use,” he said.
Scott Rasak, the marketing manager from Volcano Ecigs, explained the fast paced growth by pointing to the abundance of smokers that need an alternative. “Hawaii has taken to e-cigarettes more quickly than a lot of mainland markets specially because Hawaii has the most smokers per capita,” he said.
Hawaii’s smokers are passionately embracing the vaping movement because they see its potential. Many believe that it is a better alternative for their health. “It’s gotta be better than smoking. I’m not putting something I set on fire into my lungs,” said resident David Shultz.
Of course, there are always a few skeptics in the ecig world and Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang was not happy to hear about the growing number of vapers. “It’s definitely a concern that ecigarettes are like a gateway. Once people get hooked on the nicotine, they will switch over to regular cigarettes, which are extremely dangerous.”
Fortunately, Councilman Chang can rest easy because we already have bountiful evidence from a recent study at Harvard that ecigs do not act as a gateway to smoking. In fact, vaping is more of a gateway to smoking cessation. Ecigs are most attractive to current smokers that need an alternative to help them bridge over to a new tobacco-free life. Ecigs are the perfect stepping stone because they offer nicotine and the same hand to mouth action of smoking, but they eliminate tar, tobacco, and smoke.
Hawaii is the first state to ever report that vaping has surpassed smoking. Do you think other states will soon see the same major shift?