The percentage of smokers over the age of 65 have plateaued over the last six years to between 8 and 9 percent. Yes, this means that there are still millions of older smokers that maybe want to quit but still have not.
Will switching to vaping be the healthier option for them even if they do not go nicotine-free?
“Vaping is clearly less harmful than regular cigarettes,” said Dr. Steven Schroeder, who directs the Smoking Cessation Leadership Canter at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a co-author of a recent JAMA article reviewing tobacco control developments. Still, vaping without nicotine content is much safer and definitely not bad for you.
Some studies have also shown that e-cigarettes confer at least two-thirds reduction in health risks when it is compared to smoking. Dr. Schroeder also pointed out that nicotine is not the primary culprit. Nicotine is an ingredient that is addictive but does not cause damage like the 70 carcinogens that are known.
David Abrams, a clinical psychologist at New York University who researches nicotine and smoking said the following: “If you could get nicotine in a safer form, like an F.D.A. – approved medication, even for the rest of your life, you’d be in far better shape.”
Dr. Abrams says that vaping could be a reasonable alternative, especially for older smokers. He said: “Any smoker, especially an older smoker, who isn’t thinking about switching is doing himself a major disservice.”
A study published by AgeUK found that “Older men and women have the lowest rates of current smoking: only 11% of that aged 65- 74 and 5% of those 75+ are current smokers.” (Later Life In The United Kingdom, 2017).
The closest statistics that was found relating to vaping and seniors is from a poll that was created on a vaping forum. The poll has been answered by 67 people. “24 people, 35.8%, aged 56+ use vaporizers” (P, Teresa).
This provides us with interesting information about how many seniors actually vape. And what can be seen from looking at the comments? The majority of them use vaping for their nicotine addiction. But there are probably a lot more seniors that vape but just do not have access to the internet and that we don’t know of.
The reason for seniors vaping can either be because they use vaping as a tool for their nicotine addiction or because there are more flavors available for them to try. The other reason can also be because of research that has shown that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking.
There still needs to be done more research on the percentage of senior vapers, but we can say that if they are switching from smoking to vaping it is the healthier option.
If you are a senior vaper and use any medication, please consult your health care provider just to let them know that you are switching to vaping.