According to a new poll from Reuters and Ipsos, around 10 percent of Americans are thought to have taken up the practice of vaping.
But what is vaping, and why is it becoming so popular? Vaping, or the use of an electronic cigarette or vaporizer, has caught on as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
New research shows that more American adults are embracing this smokeless technology to get their nicotine fix — but many are also still smoking cigarettes, too.
The Reuters poll was conducted online between May 19 and June 4 and received 5,679 respondents. The 10 percent figure is nearly four times higher than U.S. government estimates on e-cigarette use, which they assumed to be around 2.6 percent in 2013.
E-cig users still don’t number as high as cigarette smokers in the U.S., but they are catching up, especially in the under-40 crowd. Of poll respondents under 40, 15% use e-cigarettes.
As of 2013, 18.8 percent of Americans between 18 and 24 smoked, and 20.1 percent between 25 and 44 smoked, according to data from the U.S. government.
The numbers on the use of rechargeable and disposable e cigarettes arrives just days after the California State Senate has chosen to ban the devices from public places, including bars, restaurants, movie theaters and more.
Part of the appeal of vaping is the flavoring, which comes in everything from watermelon to cotton candy, according to state Sen. Jeff Stone. Stone was the only Republican in the Senate who voted to restrict e-cigarettes and regulate them like regular cigarettes, in a vote that passed 24-12.
For Stone, the ban was personal: his mother was a longtime smoker who died from cancer. Of the 7,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke, at least 69 are known cancer-causing carcinogens.
But vaping was seen as “a good way to help people quit smoking,” said 80 percent of survey respondents.
An additional 40 percent of respondents who vape said that they chose to use e-cigarettes because they could be used indoors and cost less than tobacco. The majority of respondents also believe that vaping is safer than smoking.
Meanwhile, researchers are still looking into whether or not this is true, and the FDA is looking into requiring health warnings on labels for e-cigarettes.