A new online poll finds about 10 percent of U.S. adults use e-cigarettes, significantly higher than a recent government estimate of 2.6 percent.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found about 15 percent of those under age 40 use e-cigarettes. A
lmost 70 percent of current e-cigarette users started in the last year, Reuters reports.
Many e-cigarette users also smoke conventional cigarettes, the poll found. About 80 percent said using e-cigarettes was "a good way to help people quit smoking." Almost half of users said they started using the devices because of friends or family, and almost 40 percent said they liked being able to smoke indoors, as well as the lower cost over time.
Proponents of e-cigarettes argue the devices are safer than traditional cigarettes, which have been proven to contribute to lung cancer and other diseases, the article notes.
Last month a group of experts convened by the U.S. government concluded there is not enough evidence to support using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said medicines, including nicotine replacement products, along with behavior modification programs, are more effective.
The task force conducted an in-depth review of studies of smoking cessation methods. "There was not enough information to determine whether e-cigarettes are more helpful or harmful for smoking cessation," the experts wrote.
Both smoking cessation medications and nicotine replacement products are more effective than e-cigarettes in helping people quit, the report noted. Using medications and nicotine replacement products together are even more effective.
Using behavioral modification programs, such as support groups and counseling sessions, can further improve the odds of quitting smoking, the experts said.