Think people are taking up vaping because they’re desperate to get off cigarettes or will do anything to get their nicotine hit in a more socially acceptable way? Well, yes, but also no.
It turns out that people think vaping makes them look cool, in much the same way as lounging around with a tobacco cigarette in many years gone by gave the impression of sophistication. Think of all those sultry, demure, cigarette-smoking stars from the Golden Era of Hollywood.
It’s definitely totally uncool to smoke tobacco these days — and hugely harmful to human health. Cigarettes are now known to contain over 4,000 chemicals, 250 identified as toxic and causes of cancer. Globally, more than seven million people die each year because of tobacco smoking, including those near to smokers who inhale the deadly fumes.
The researchers took to Twitter for their vaping study and examined tweets over a three-year period, from 2012 to 2015. As the platform is one of the leading social media destinations, capturing people’s views and feelings in real-time, the scientists wanted to know what people were saying about vaping.
— ohmface (@ohmfacekiller) May 11, 2017
After excluding such things as retweets, ads and spam, what they found were a marked rise over the three years of their keywords usage – “e-cigarette” and “vaping” in particular – and what people were talking about in relation to them.
It began to emerge that people were forming the opinion that vaping products such as the popular Halo e-cig range were something of a fashion or lifestyle accessory — and even a firm statement to the world that they were hip and cool.
Now, people were tweeting such things as: “I want one of those e-cigs, it’ll make me look cool,” and saying how they felt — and looked — so much better when vaping in a club. That’s something they could never do with tobacco smoking, as it has long since been banned in all sorts of public spaces, including nightspots.
“Our data suggests the reasons people vape are shifting away from cessation and toward the social image,” said the scientists in their report.
The vaping industry, meanwhile, has gotten a big boost of its own recently, with a number of serious studies out of the UK saying it’s a far healthier alternative to smoking tobacco and could help to save lives.
The Royal College of Physicians examined vaping in the context of tobacco smoking being “the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability” in Britain. It declared that e-cigarettes “appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.” Cancer Research UK, the leading cancer charity in the country, carried out its own study on vaping and concluded that e-cigarettes “are less toxic and safer to use compared to conventional cigarettes.”
So whether for health or social image, it’s clear that vaping is a real winner.