California moved to rise the age at which people can buy cigarettes to 21, matching steps being taken in New York City, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon. They fear that a lifetime of addiction is developed when young and if they can delay uptake for a few years they can interrupt the process. It is a philosophy they believe ought to be applied to vaping, ignoring evidence to the contrary and mistakenly feeling it is a gateway to smoking.
Despite all the best global efforts taken to combat smoking and reduce smoking rates, the under-18 figures remain remarkably stubborn. It seems odd then that, given their failure, legislators are so violently opposed to replacing smoking with vaping as a harm-reduction technique. For all of their scare stories, the data doesn’t support the notion that ecigs are rapidly growing in popularity with youth or acting as a gateway to smoking.
Reuters/IPSOS have uncovered a number of key facts about vaping in the States: the lead one being that vaping is the choice of the more affluent (and not children at all). As the number of vapers approaches that of those admitting to being smokers, it appears that more and more of the better off smokers are opting to make the switch.
The under-40s are leading this demographic shift, and inciting Reuters to describe the market as “exploding” – great news for vendors who featured a contraction resulting from over-the-top legislation. If we can forgive them for describing vaping as “e-smoking” (a crime that ought to be punishable by being locked in a room with Katie Hopkins), they illustrate a usage rise that correlates to income.
More surprisingly is that this trend has occurred over the last 12 months, a time when we have witnessed many British politicians also making the shift.
The number of UK cafes being set up with the express intention of appealing to vapers has grown over this year too. Cloud Café in Middlesbrough is one such and has attracted the attention of the Daily Mirror (home to many anti-ecig articles). If we are seeing a similar growth in affluent vapers at home we will have to wait for the next study carried out by Professor West to confirm it.