Reports indicate older generations are starting to understand what vaping has to offer as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Over the last decade or so, vaping has grown from a relatively unknown process to one of the most successful and fastest growing smoking cessation tools we have. For years, the overwhelming majority of vapers were made up of younger generations of smokers who wanted to end their tobacco dependence once and for all. While these groups still make up most vapers, there have been significant increases in the number of vapers over the age of 45 in recent years. So much so that a new study concluded the vaping rate of smokers aged 45 to 54 is twice as high as it was just a few years back.
Making these new findings all the more important is the raging debate over how to treat vaping. Critics of e-cigarettes worry about their impact on teens, regardless of any harm reduction or smoking cessation value they offer. Supporters instead point to the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence proving how useful e-cigarettes could be. While there’s been few signs of slowing in the debate over vaping, a significant increase in older adults who understand their value could do wonders for the public perception of vaping.
The New Study
The report in question was published by London market research firm, Mintel. Overall they concluded the vaping market in the UK is still quite robust, despite a few years of regression in sales. To collect their data, the team asked vapers around the country about how and when they vape, as well as how they perceive the risk. Ultimately the team was able to conclude the vaping market actually increased in value by around 12% in 2018. This represents a nearly 300 million pound industry in the UK alone. But other people were quick to point out the findings in regards to older vapers. The team concluded over 70% of smokers between 45-54 felt vaping is now fashionable in addition to being the much safer choice. Making these results more impressive is the apparent rapid growth, as the same group of people had barely any understanding of vaporizers as recently as a few years ago.
One reason for the concern over vaping is the drop in sales among the 18 to 24-year-old group. In fact, the report concluded that while 18 to 24-year-olds are still the most likely to vape (around 28%), this is only a bit higher than the 24% recorded in 2016. Unfortunately, it also seems many Brits are content letting the government regulate them more, as 62% said they believe e-cigarettes ought to be more regulated, with 42% seeing vaping as a “gateway” to smoking.
Luckily for those who are concerned, we have a ton of evidence which suggests vaping is not luring teens into a life of smoking in any way. A study of over 60,000 teens concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers regularly, let alone making the switch to harsh combustible cigarettes. This makes even more sense when you realize vaping is the best smoking cessation tool we have. In fact, a study from the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and concluded vaping even beats out prescription drugs.
The harm reduction value of vaporizers is just as impressive. This evidence goes back even further, with reports in 2015 by Public Health England concluding vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That figure was huge news at the time, but these days we get results like that all the time. Even just a few months ago we got a study which concluded smoke has 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. But the most impressive evidence we have is certainly a report on cancer risk. Researchers found that not only is vaping safer, but a vaper has a 57,000 times lower excess lifetime cancer risk than a demographically similar smoker.
Things have gotten pretty hectic for the vaping industry this year. But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad changes. Public perception continues to be one of the biggest hurdles facing the vaping industry. So if older adults are indeed starting to understand everything that’s at stake, it would be a significant gain for the public perception of e-cigarettes. If we don’t do something soon, it may not be long before legislators swoop in and take away everything that makes vaping so effective in the first place. So with smoking still killing more people every year than any other preventable cause, we simply must start working to support the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping.
Is it a good thing for older adults to pick up vaping? What’s the biggest hurdle facing vaping in your opinion? What’s the most effective way to teach others about vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.