Electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes, are quickly gaining a crowd of supporters on American soil. In fact, one-fifth of American adults who smoke cigarettes have reported that they have used e-cigarettes and the number of users grew substantially between 2010 and 2011, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes.”
The study is the first to investigate the changes in awareness and use of e-cigarettes between 2010 and 2011. It found that about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used the electronic inhaler in 2011, which is about 10 percent more than in 2010. The increase was noted in both sexes, and especially in non-Hispanic Whites (aged 45-54 years old), those living in the South, and current and former smokers. The report also showed that e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former smokers and people who have never smoked.
Although many believe that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, more studies are needed to define their impact on long-term health. Similarly, research is needed to determine how e-cigarette marketing could impact initiation and use of traditional cigarettes, particularly among young people.