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Military smokers prefer vaping, says report

In a longitudinal study conducted with members of the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard, researchers found that military soldiers prefer vaping over smoking if given the chance to switch.  In the survey of over 400 participants and their immediate families, issues of perceived vaping satisfaction and safety concerns were factored into their responses.

According to the published findings, daily users of vaping devices found them to be “much more satisfying” than conventional combustible cigarettes.  Soldiers also report them to be far less dangerous than the mainstream media often paints them to be.

Overview of the military vaping study

In Mid-2017, the U.S. Navy placed a temporary ban on all electronic cigarettes for soldiers on board ships.  Navy officials apparently see no issue with vaping on dry land, but a recent surge in e-cig explosions at sea was causing some concern.  The ban went into effect on May 14 and remains in place to this day. 


Almost at the very same time, scientists from the University of Buffalo, New York were releasing a report showing that military soldiers prefer vaping to smoking, even when e-cig explosions and other safety concerns are taken into account.  The control group began with 105 volunteers before broadening to the 400+ members.

  • The initial group of 105 consisted of 53 male and 52 female soldiers.
  • Ages ranged from 18 to 45 with the average being 30.2 years.
  • Education levels of participating soldiers were also factored into the findings.
    • 64 percent had “some college” in their backgrounds
    • 15 percent had a college degree
    • 18 percent had high school diplomas
    • 3 percent had less education
  • The ethnic diversity of the control group consisted of:
    • 83 percent White
    • 8 percent Black
    • 6 percent Hispanic
    • 8 percent Other
  • The soldiers were also broken down into three usage categories:
    • Non-daily vapers
    • Daily Vapers
    • Vaping “triers”

By asking each participant to complete a series of questionnaires, the researchers discovered that the overall satisfaction levels of the military smokers tended to increase as they progressed through the three different stages of vaping from “triers” to daily vapers.  Conversely, their perceptions of e-cigs being dangerous (i.e. e-cig explosions) steadily diminished over time as well. 

“The results argue that satisfaction, perceived harm or danger and product type seem to all work together to promote use or avoidance. The mistaken belief that e-cigarettes are more harmful than cigarettes can influence some smokers to not use e-cigs. If the type of product they use is less satisfying, this also can influence likelihood of use.”

The published report of the University of Buffalo survey is entitled Daily users compared to less frequent users find vape as or more satisfying and less dangerous than cigarettes, and are likelier to use non-cig-alike vaping products.  It is readily available for the public via the journal Preventative Medicine Reports.


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