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Which Age Group Vapes the Most Worldwide? Latest 2024

In the age of social media filters and curated online personas, puffing on a vape pen might seem like a cool and trendy habit. But a hidden danger lies beneath the veil of flavored clouds and sleek designs, particularly for the younger generation.

The rapid rise of vaping has health experts worldwide scrambling for answers. New data for 2024 paints a concerning picture of who’s vaping the most globally. Is it teenagers, as many suspect, or is there a more unexpected age group leading the charge in this troubling trend?

We’ll end the research on the latest statistics, removing the curtain on the demographics most impacted by vaping. We’ll also explore the potential health risks of this relatively new phenomenon, separating fact from fiction.

So, buckle up as we uncover the truth about which age group has become hooked on vapes and what it means for the future of public health.

Contents

Vaping by Age Data (Key Statistics)

1. Teens and Young Adults (aged 13-24) vape more than any other age group worldwide.
2. There are an estimated 82 million e-cigarette users globally.
3. 24.7% of high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes.
4. 5.8% of adults (aged 25-64) currently use e-cigarettes.
5. Gen Z might be surpassing Millennials in vaping rates.
6. Adolescents who vape are 3.6 times more likely to use combustible cigarettes later in life.

The Alarming Rise of Vaping

Vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol produced by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or similar device, has become a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, the long-term health effects of vaping are still unknown, causing significant concern.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were an estimated 82 million e-cigarette users globally. This number is expected to have grown significantly in the past four years.

Regional Breakdown

Vaping trends vary considerably across different regions of the world. Here’s a closer look at the estimated number of vapers and possible reasons behind the disparities:

Europe and Eastern Mediterranean: Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean are leading the pack, with an estimated 20.1 million and 9.2 million vapers, respectively. This dominance might be linked to factors like:

Early adopters: These regions might have embraced e-cigarettes earlier, leading to a larger established vaping population.

Regulatory landscape: Less stringent regulations compared to other parts of the world could have facilitated wider access and use of vapes.

estimated numbers of vapers by region

The Americas: The Americas follow closely behind, with an estimated 16.8 million vapers. While substantial, this number falls short of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, suggesting potential regional influences.

Western Pacific and Southeast Asia: These regions have a lower estimated number of vapers, at 16.0 million and 14.3 million, respectively. This could be due to:

Later introduction: Vaping technology might have reached these regions later, allowing for less time for widespread adoption.

Stricter regulations: Stronger policies restricting access or flavors could dampen vaping trends in these areas.

Africa: Africa has the lowest estimated number of vapers at 5.6 million. Here are some possible reasons:

Limited access: Some African countries might restrict the availability of e-cigarettes, limiting the chance of widespread use.

Economic factors: In some parts of Africa, economic considerations might make vaping less affordable compared to other regions.

Sources: WHO, GSTHR

Vaping Statistics by Age Group

Vaping trends vary significantly across different age groups. Let’s delve deeper into the statistics to understand who vapes the most:

Teens and Young Adults (13-24 years old)

This age group undeniably exhibits the highest vaping rates globally.

A study published in “Pediatrics” found that 24.7% of high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. This translates to nearly a quarter of teenagers actively vaping.

Similar trends are observed internationally. Studies suggest a rising tide of youth vaping, prompting significant public health concerns.

teen leads vaping trend

Factors Contributing to Teen Vaping

Flavored Vapes: The enticing flavors of e-cigarettes, including options like bubblegum and mango, along with nicotine free disposable vape alternatives, appeal particularly to young people.

Misconceptions about Safety: Many teens mistakenly believe vaping is harmless compared to traditional cigarettes, putting them at risk.

Peer Pressure and Social Media: Vaping can be seen as a trendy and social activity influenced by peer pressure and portrayals on social media platforms.

Adults (25-64 years old)

While teen vaping rates are alarming, adult vaping shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 5.8% of adults in the United States currently use e-cigarettes.

Though lower than teens, this percentage signifies a substantial portion of the adult population vapes.

Age Group Vaping Rate (%)
Teens & Young Adults
24.7%
Adults
5.8%

Factors Contributing to Adult Vaping

Smoking Cessation: Many adults turn to vaping for smoking cessation, drawn to options like refillable vapes, which offer convenience and customizable experiences compared to traditional cigarettes.

Nicotine Addiction: Vapes often contain nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, which can lead to continued use.

Flavor Appeal: Similar to teens, some adults may find flavored vapes more appealing than traditional cigarettes.

References: CDC Foundation, National Institute on Drug Abuse, SingleCare, Truth Initiative, Clear Steps Recovery, Forbes, National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic.

A Surprising Twist: Millennial vs. Gen Z Vaping

Recent data suggests that Gen Z might be outpacing Millennials in vaping rates, influenced by factors such as increased marketing towards younger adults and the popularity of pod system vapes.

But that’s not it! While teens lead the vaping pack, a 2024 study indicates that Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) might be surpassing Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) in vaping rates, particularly in specific states like North Carolina.

This could be due to factors like increased marketing towards younger adults and the perception of vaping being less harmful.

Groups Percentage
Teens
35%
Gen-Z
40%
Millennial
25%

Reference: Dailymail

Vaping vs. Smoking: What Effects More?

While vaping is often marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, the reality is more complex. Here’s a breakdown of the statistics comparing these two practices:

The Gateway Effect

A study published in the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association (2020) found concerning evidence. “Adolescents who vape are 3.6 times more likely to use combustible cigarettes later in life“. This suggests vaping might act as a “gateway drug,” leading to traditional cigarette use.

Smoking Cessation

The effectiveness of rechargeable disposable vape as a smoking cessation tool remains under debate, with ongoing research examining their long-term impact on public health. The CDC acknowledges that e-cigarettes containing nicotine may help some people quit tobacco cigarettes compared to non-nicotine vapes. However, more research is needed to determine this approach’s long-term success rates and potential health risks.

Frequency and Effectiveness

Interestingly, some CDC studies suggest that regular use of e-cigarettes might be more effective for quitting smoking compared to less frequent vaping. This raises questions about the mechanisms at play and the potential dependence formed through consistent vaping, even if it helps some quit cigarettes.

Key Considerations

It’s crucial to remember that vaping isn’t harmless. Long-term health effects are still being studied, but potential risks include lung damage and nicotine addiction, particularly for young people whose brains are still developing.

References: The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, CDC, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Truth Initiative.

Conclusion

The vaping trend is worrisome, with teens leading the charge. While adults vape, too, Gen Z may surpass Millennials in some areas.

Vaping might be marketed as safer than smoking, but research on its long-term effects is lacking, and it can be a gateway to cigarettes.

With enticing flavors and social media influence, curbing teen vaping requires addressing these factors and highlighting the potential health risks.