Close to 13% of American adults have tried an e-cigarette, according to new federal data published Wednesday by the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. They also found that more than half of current cigarette smokers who tried quitting in the last year had tried an e-cigarette. Around 20% of those people said they were current e-cigarette smokers.
“In light of ongoing declines in conventional cigarette smoking prevalence, it is important to understand the extent to which e-cigarettes are being used among U.S. adults, both overall and by conventional cigarette smoking status,” the report authors write. E-cigarettes have been advertised as an alternative to conventional cigarettes and as a quitting tool for some people.
Use of e-cigarettes declined with age and overall about 3.7% of adults in the U.S. currently used them.
The researchers also found that use of e-cigs in 2014 was highest among people who were current smokers or were recently former smokers.
“One of the main findings is that a majority of e-cigarette use is among those who recently quit smoking,” says Dr. Avrum Spira, an e-cigarette researcher at Boston University. “That reflects a potential, albeit yet unproven, benefit of the e-cigarette product in terms of helping smokers switch to a potentially “safer”—not “safe” as we know little about consequence on exposure—product.” Spira was not involved in the study.