About two million Germans vape electric cigarettes, as the e-cigarette offers many advantages. Nevertheless, critics as the World Health Organization (WHO) express concerns like:
- Health risks can not be excluded
- Ex-smokers could be relapsed to tobacco
- Young people would be tempted to smoke
These assumptions lead to different current law demands. It is required to ban the sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 and liquids with fruity and sweet taste.
In the USA and England studies already exist that disprove the current legal requirements. PowerCigs E-Zigaretten has taken the studies from abroad and the demands for government regulation as an opportunity to examine the e-cigarette use in German-speaking countries. In a large e-cigarette survey, about 800 vapers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were asked about their reasons for vaping and their e-cigarette behavior.
Chart 1: Who is using the e-cigarette?
The results of the study question why the critics claim the e-cigarette is a gateway to tobacco related products among adolescents. The majority of participants is between 30 and 59 years old. It turns out that only 0.13 percent is under the age of 18 years and have tried the e-cigarette.
Chart 2: Is the e-cigarette a gateway for tobacco cigarettes?
Chart 3: Is the e-cigarette an alternative to tobacco cigarette?
Even for adults the e-cigarette is no gateway: only one percent said to have been non-smokers before the first use of the e-cigarette. 95 percent were previously smokers and 4 percent ex-smokers. Especially heavy smokers, who smoked daily 1.5 boxes or more, changed to the electric alternative. E-cigarettes help ex-smokers to stay away from tobacco products.
Chart 4: Smokers change to the e-cigarette, because…
Less unhealthy substances, better taste and an alternative to tobacco smoking - these are the reasons why smokers change to the e-cigarette. 19 percent have switched to the electric alternative to consume fewer unhealthy substances. 17 percent enjoy the better taste of e-cigarettes and 16 percent want to reduce completely the use of tobacco. It was important to them that e-cigarettes are cheap and that the "secondhand vape" is less harmful to family and friends.
Chart 5: Is the e-cigarette used in the long-term?
Chart 6: Effects of the e-cigarette on health and well-being
The vapers report better physical condition: 66 percent feel better and 40 percent fitter after the switch. They cough less, sleep better and can climb up the stairs. In the long term they profit from the advantages of the e-cigarette.
Chart 7: Which liquid flavors are most commonly consumed?
Particularly fruity and self-mixed (DIY) liquids are popular among the participants. Since the e-cigarette tastes better for many smokers and ex-smokers, it is likely that the non-tobacco flavors help them to remain abstinent from tobacco.
Chart 8: Is tobacco still smoked, after switching to the e-cigarette?
Chart 9: Changes in smoking behavior after switching to the e-cigarette
A convincing majority (82 percent) remains totally smoke-free after switching to the electric alternative. Only two percent of occasional smokers use comparatively more tobacco cigarette than e-cigarette. Most vapers that also smoke,smoke less or the same amount of cigarettes, none of them started to smoke more.
Chart 10: The importance of the substances quality and manufacture country of e-products
The quality of the products is very important for vapers. They pay attention to the declaration of substances and country of origin of the e-liquids.
Chart 11: Alternative purchase
Even though to the participants of the survey, the declaration of ingredients and country of origin is a very important factor, 33 percent said that if there were a complete prohibition, they would still buy the product in the black market. Forcing a ban to legitimate e-cigarette manufacturers, would most likely downgrade the safety and the quality of the products. If banned, 48 percent of the participans would still buy it abroad.“The e-cigarette is a risk to the health, a starting product for the youth and a temptation for ex-smokers” - the results of the e-cigarette survey show that many demands on regulation are based on these unverified claims. Long-term studies and current research should be considered before regulating the e-cigarette.