SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--E-Cigarette Forum, the world’s largest online forum dedicated to the topic of e-cigarettes, today released the findings of a new survey of its membership. Responses provided by more than 10,000 self-described “vapers,” represent one of the most comprehensive research efforts to date to better understand the tools that consumers are using in an effort to quit smoking. The findings come at a critical time as the FDA considers policies for regulating e-cigarettes.
The survey revealed an overwhelming preference for the new generation of e-cigarettes – known as “vaporizers” or “mods” – products where Big Tobacco companies have made minor inroads. Additional findings point to consumer motivations for using e-cigarettes, a.k.a. “vaping,” as well as preferences regarding flavored e-liquids.
“Since the earliest days of e-cigarettes a decade ago, the industry has been driven by vapers rather than by Big Tobacco,” stated Oliver Kershaw, founder and CEO of EC Forum and Vaping.com. “Look no further than the rapid proliferation of vape shops, which have grown from 5000 to 14,000 in the last year within the United States alone. While Big Tobacco is trying to buy itself into the market, it’s not clear if they really understand why people vape and what they are looking for in a product."
Vaping as a substitute for smoking
Though a vocal minority in the public health community are skeptical of vaping as an effective smoking cessation tool, the survey data paints a clear picture: the vast majority of vapers had been heavy smokers and have given up smoking for vaping.
- When asked “How many cigarettes did you smoke in a typical day before you started vaping?” 89% of respondents stated that they smoked at least 10/day. And, more than a third (35%) had smoked between 20-29/day.
- As to the question, “Do you currently smoke cigarettes in addition to vaping?” 88% said “no.”
The role of flavors, particularly in helping one quit smoking
Having access to non-tobacco flavors seems to play a material role in helping people move from smoking to vaping. Specifically, 46% stated “flavors other than tobacco were very important in helping (me) quit smoking.” An additional 19% felt it was “important” in helping them to quit smoking.
Implications of potential FDA regulations
On August 8, the FDA will close the “public comments” period on the topic of e-cigarette regulation. The agency has indicated that it may require e-cigarette manufacturers to complete an extremely lengthy paperwork process prior to considering a product for approval, which could lead to only the Big Tobacco companies to have the financial resources to fulfill these requirements.
The EC Forum survey asked “If the vaping products you use were banned tomorrow, which would you do?” The top three sets of responses were the following:
- 79% would “Look to the black market”
- 14% would “Stop vaping and return to smoking”
- 7% would “Stop vaping and quit nicotine all together.”
The findings are based on the results of a two-week survey conducted from late June to early July of 2014. Respondents included more than 10,000 E-Cigarette Forum members, 78% of whom are based in the United States. Canada and the UK each represented 5% while the remaining 12% were spread among 22 other countries. Ages ranged from 18 to “65 and over,” with 74% coming from the 22 – 54 age group. Gender breakdown consisted of 71% men and 29% women.
About E-Cigarette Forum & Vaping.com
E-Cigarette Forum & Vaping.com maintains the world’s largest e-cigarette related information resource. EC Forum is committed to the promotion of good science as it relates to vaping, and founded the E-Cigarette Summit at London’s prestigious Royal Society last year. High-level researchers and policy experts on both sides of the debate participated, and you may read the transcripts here.