Vaping and e-cig use have long been considered to be gateway drugs to cigarette smoking. Many watchdog groups warn consumers about dangers of going from vaping onto tobacco cigarettes. They also claim that stepping down from smoking to vaping is not a big enough of a change and still shares many of the same problems as smoking.
The trends we are seeing tell a different story, though. If you look at the data on smoking and vaping, you will see some surprising facts. First of all, smoking has reaching generational lows right now. People are taking up smoking and continuing to smoke at the lowest rates we have seen in a while. There just aren’t as many people using cigarettes as there used to be, and that change is due to a lot of factors. It can be attributed to increased awareness over the dangers of smoking, less advertising for the smoking industry and trends that see vaping becoming a popular alternative.
Vaping and e-cig use, on the other hand, has taken off over the last few years. What was formerly a niche market has started to gain some serious headway on cigarette smoking, with many smokers actually giving up their cigarettes to try vaping instead.
Of course,many people who give up smoking and take up vaping actually quit tobacco use altogether. Vaping is often a step toward quitting for many of them. Vaping usually involves less nicotine than smoking, which makes it easier for consumers to quit once they start vaping than they would be able to from smoking.
Then, if we look at the data that show serious smoking trends, we see that cigarettes and vaping are not equal among teens and kids. It’s common knowledge that kids and teenagers who start smoking tend to become regular users pretty quickly. They can become more easily addicted to smoking at a young age, which is why it is so dangerous and illegal for them to start in the first place.
Vaping, on the other hand, isn’t usually something that young people take up regularly. If they are vaping, they tend to do it less frequently than cigarette smokers at the same age. This comes down to how addictive the different substances are. Vaping oil tends to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes, so it makes sense that kids would be less likely to become addicted and start using e cigarette liquid regularly.
There has always been concern about e-cigs and that they would make smoking cool or make it more kid friendly. After all, the oil used in e-cigs often comes in colorful containers, which can attract the attention of kids who shouldn’t be using them. But we haven’t seen a huge spike in vaping numbers or in vaping leading to smoking, and those are positive signs for anyone who was worried there would be an epidemic of vaping as soon as e-cigs started to become popular.
We can pin some of the differences between vaping and smoking usage on how addictive these two activities are. We understand that vaping isn’t usually as addictive,and that accounts, to some degree, for less teen use and less regular use of vaping products than of cigarettes among those who use them.
What may be overlooked, however, is the influence of advertising and industry perceptions. For several decades, cigarette smoking and cigar smoking were seen as cool. There were advertisements in places that were easily visible to kids. Movie stars often lit up on screen. But when restrictions on smoking advertisements came into effect and the movie industry shied away from showing smoking onscreen, the public perception of cigarette smoking changed with it. It was no longer seen as the “in” thing to do. We think this is part of the reason why vaping is replacing smoking in many ways.