A new Gallup poll shows cigarette smoking among young adults has plummeted to a new low just one month after data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed e-cigarette use surging.
The Gallup poll reported a decline in smoking among adults aged 18-29 by a 12 percentage points to 22 percent over the past decade.
The slump has been so pronounced that young people are now no more likely to smoke than those aged 30 to 64, a significant change since the early 2000s, according to Gallup.
The findings “align with those found in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, which found that cigarette smoking has dropped most sharply among 18- to 24-year-olds,” said Gallup.
Smoking rates have been a downward trend for decades, with percentage of current smokers now down to a little under 18 percent. The sharp fall in cigarette smoking has been accompanied by an equally impressive rise in e-cigarette use, especially among young adults who are the most likely to vape out of all age groups.
A CDC report released in November, said 5.1 percent of 18-24 year olds and 4.7 percent of 25-44 year olds were regular vapers. In total, 12.6 percent of Americans have tried an e-cigarette and 3.7 percent are consistent e-cigarette users.
“Government regulations and increased taxation on cigarettes also may be leading young adults to embrace alternative methods of tobacco consumption,” said Gallup.
After hitting the US market in 2006-2007, e-cigarette have become wildly popular, hitting regular cigarette sales by between 0.5 percent and 3.5 percent each year to 2013.
The CDC report also blew away one of the central contentions of anti-vaping activists – that e-cigarettes are a gateway drug and will raise the risk of non-smoking vapers taking up cigarettes.
According to the CDC study, just 0.4 percent of people who had never smoked tobacco were current vapers, using the device either every day or some days. Among the adults who had never smoked cigarettes a meagre 3.4 percent had ever tried and e-cigarette. 55.4 percent of smokers who quit in the past year have used e-cigarettes.
The study followed data released in April showing regular smoking continuing to fall among high school students while e-cigarette use was increasing, with 9.2 percent of students saying they smoked a cigarette in the last month – a fall of 3.5 percent from 2013. Over the same time period, students who reported using e-cigarettes jumped from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent.