It’s finally happened. In the decade or so that vaping has been around, we’ve waited for the moment when a segment of society would begin vaping more than smoking. It seemed inevitable to happen, given how quickly vaping gained traction among smokers and how it eventually made its way into the mainstream. That moment has now come, as a new Gallup poll confirmed for the first time that there are more Americans under 30 who vape than smoke.
Think about that for a minute. Smoking has been around since 5000 BC, and modern rolled cigarettes since the early 19th century. The big tobacco companies got started around a century ago, and that’s when smoking really took off. That’s a lot of smoking history, and it’s about to go up in vapour! That’s because vapour devices are proving to be the most disruptive products in history. Taking down tobacco smoking? That’s no small feat, and one that was unimaginable only a decade ago.
Yet here we are, as Gallup officially tells us that smoking rates have “plummeted” and that younger people are adopting vaping. Some people out there will tell you that this isn’t all that great – after all, they are still breathing something into their lungs. Well, that’s a very misguided interpretation of what is happening. Those people clearly haven’t heard that Public Health England has already declared vaping to be 95% safer than smoking.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Listen to what Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote when the poll was released: “Because young people have become much less likely to smoke in recent years, it's possible that vaping is functioning as a substitute, which, if true, may have positive health implications.” Mr. Newport, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We’re happy to hear some Americans haven’t been too scared into finding out the truth.
The Battle Isn’t Over
As great as this milestone is, the battle against smoking is far from over. Just like nobody thought cigarettes were dangerous back in the 70s until enough education got through, we are in a similar situation now. The battle of information will determine how many more millions of smokers will be able to make the lifestyle-altering switch from smoke to vapour. There’s already too much misinformation and too many misconceptions about vaping. Stemming that and reversing the tide will be good for vapers everywhere.
Getting the young people to understand the difference between vaping and smoking is absolutely key. In this sense, this win is even bigger than we’ve given it credit for. The poll showed that 22% of 18-29s say vaping is "very harmful,” while a huge 83% say this about smoking generally. Even as we see 22% of the youth in America misunderstand vaping, it is a miniscule number compared to those who know cigarette smoking is very bad for you.
Besides those 22% of young Americans that need to be better informed about vaping, we must remember that this is only the smaller under-30 age population. We have age group after age group that see electronic cigarettes and vapour devices as just another way to smoke. It’s our job to make sure that they come to a realisation that it’s not that at all.
As vaping has gone mainstream, we’ve seen a greater acceptance and at the very least understanding. Still, we haven’t seen anything quite like this, and so this is the time to take a step back in awe of this past decade. It took a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears to make vaping a reality on a large scale. It succeeded, and it succeeded big time. This absolutely disruptive technology has changed the lives of people under 30. It can do more, and we know it. One day we’ll be speaking about vaping taking over smoking in all age categories, and in all countries. Until then, we’ll keep shouting its benefits everywhere we can.