Thursday, August 2, 2018

More Vaping Facts, Not All Good, from 2017 CDC Data

CDC and other U.S. government agencies rarely publish straightforward numbers and conclusions about adult e-cigarette use; their focus is usually on underage use.  Last month, by re-analyzing the federal data, I demonstrated that the number of American vapers declined in 2017 (here); following are additional insights.

As seen in the table below, the number of every-day e-cigarette users increased between 2014 and 2016.  However, in 2017 the number dropped by almost a quarter-million.  The proportions of current, former and never smokers in 2014 were 50%, 46% and 4%.  By 2016 the proportions were 32%, 58% and 10%, indicating that more every-day e-cigarette users were former smokers.  In 2017, the proportion of former smokers inched up again: 32%, 60% and 8%.

Number (in millions) and Prevalence (%) of Every-Day and Some-Day E-Cigarette Use in the U.S., 2014 to 2017


20142.71 (1.1%)6.20 (2.6%)8.91 (3.7%)
20152.94 (1.2%)5.40 (2.2%)8.34 (3.4%)
20163.03 (1.2%)4.77 (2.0%)7.80 (3.2%)
20172.79 (1.1%)4.09 (1.7%)6.88 (2.8%)
The number of some-day e-cigarette users declined in 2017 for the third consecutive year, to 4.09 million – over 2 million fewer than in 2014.  Most were current smokers in all years, but the proportions shifted:  In 2014, they were 80%, 12% and 8% for current, former and never smokers.  By 2016, the proportions were 68%, 18% and 14%; and in 2017, they were 62%, 15% and 23%.

In 2017, there were 1.17 million never smokers who were current vapers, and 80% of this group (933,000) were using e-cigarettes some days.   The vast majority of some-day users were either 18-24 years of age (68%), or 25-34 (23%), suggesting that vaping is displacing smoking in these younger groups.

It is unfortunate that the number of daily and some-day U.S. vapers is declining, as the facts demonstrate that tobacco harm reduction can only be successful if smoke-free tobacco consumption increases among inveterate smokers.

Note: Thanks to Bill Godshall for requesting these additional insights.

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