US popularity of e-cigarettes and vaping stalls amid health concerns

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll suggests the industry hasn't grown in a year...

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File photo. Image: Yui Mok / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices has stalled in the United States as more Americans question their safety, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The online survey of 9,766 adults between April 19th and May 16th found that 10% of people in US are using the devices. This is the same percentage found in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll taken in May 2015.

Not only that, a growing percentage expressed negative attitudes toward e-cigarettes. Some 47% of participants felt that vaping was not healthier than smoking standard cigarettes, a 9% increase on last year.

This year, 43% did not believe vaping could help people quit smoking, compared with last year's 39% who held that view. A majority of respondents  – 66% – say that vaping can be addictive, up 5% from 2015.

On top of this, 49% in the most recent poll thought that vaping could have a similar effect to that of second-hand smoke, up from 42% in 2015.

Sales are slowing for smaller e-cig and vaping companies in the US, and these concerns will not help matters for the industry.

They also have to face the first regulations on e-cigarettes from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier this month, it banned their sale and advertising to minors and made it mandatory that manufacturers submit their products for approval.

At least one lawsuit has been filed in response to the new rules, with more are expected. Smaller companies are arguing that the testing is so expensive that it will favour large players such as Altria and Reynolds.

Companies are also banned from marketing their products as smoking cessation devices.

Reuters is reporting that many healthcare professionals are concerned that, while 29% of those who stopped vaping said in the poll they "quit all nicotine products," almost half went back to normal cigarettes.

In April, Britain's Royal College of Physicians endorsed these devices as being likely to bring benefits for public health and stated that they should be promoted to help smokers quit.

The Irish Cancer Society responded to this by saying it could not recommend e-cigs for helping people quit until further research into the long-term health implications was carried out.