Electronic cigarettes were a new phenomenon just a few years ago, but now they are popular worldwide. As more people learn about the benefits of trading out their old smokes for ecigs, the number of vapers is growing at an unforeseen pace. This week, Hawaii has made national headlines as the first state to have more vapers than smokers in the young adult population.
Smoking is still very common in Hawaii. In fact, the CDC reports that the Aloha state has the third highest percentage of smokers in the United States with 16.8 percent of adults being current tobacco users. Once ecigs hit the scene, things started to change for the Hawaiian people. According to Hawaii News Now, vaping has become more than just a trend. It’s actually surpassing smoking!
It’s pretty common to spot people vaping around the campus of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Assistant professor Pallav Pokhrel noticed the sudden increase in vapers and decided to do a survey to learn just how many young adults in Hawaii were using ecigs. He collected data from participants between the ages of 18 and 35 and the results were shocking. A whopping 43 percent reported ecig use! Even more shocking, 28 percent of the participants had tried their first electronic cigarette within the previous month.
So what is driving such fast paced growth for ecigs in Hawaii? Scott Rasak, marketing manager for Volcano Ecigs, points to the large number of smokers that were already looking for a way to quit before ecigs even hit the scene. “Hawaii has taken to e-cigarettes more quickly than a lot of mainland markets specially because Hawaii has the most smokers per capita,” he said.
Smokers in Hawaii truly believe that ecigs are a better alternative. With no tobacco and no secondhand smoke, it seems like an obvious choice. Plus ecig cartridges and eliquid refills is much cheaper than buying cigarettes. Local David Shultz told reporters that common sense shows ecigs are the best option. “It’s gotta be better than smoking. I’m not putting something I set on fire into my lungs,” he said.
Not everyone is quite so convinced that vaping is a good idea. In fact, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang is worried that the ecig craze could have a negative impact in the long run. “It’s definitely a concern that ecigarettes are like a gateway. Once people get hooked on the nicotine, they will switch over to regular cigarettes, which are extremely dangerous.”
The good news is that we already have plenty of research to calm the fears of Councilman Chang and other concerned citizens. Recently, a study from Harvard determined that ecigs help smokers quit and they do not act as a gateway to tobacco use. It’s actually quite rare for a nonsmoker to begin using ecigs because they are designed to appeal solely to smokers that are looking for an alternative to tobacco.
It’s definitely encouraging to see Hawaii embrace electronic cigarettes! Hopefully we will hear more stories like this in the future as young adults read the latest research and get the facts about how electronic cigarettes are different from smoking.