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Survey says soldiers prefer vaping despite recent temporary Navy ban

Posted by Matt Rowland on

In a statement released by military officials last Friday, the U.S. Navy is issuing a temporary ban on the use of vaping technology on board its entire fleet of ships.  Safety concerns are the primary factor for the initiation of the temporary ban, and Naval commanders are requesting further research and analysis into the perceived dangers of vaping before making a final, long-term decision.

The temporary vaping ban goes into effect on May 14, but the Navy is also allowing sailors at sea to file for extensions.  Meanwhile, there is currently no plan to ban vaping in designated areas on land.

Why is the U.S. Navy appearing to be rather non-committal regarding its stance on vaping?  Perhaps the reason stems from a new study published just days earlier by researchers at the University of Buffalo, New York.  According to the study, active military soldiers tend to view vaping as “more satisfying and less dangerous than cigarettes.”

The University of Buffalo military vaping study

The group of scientists led by Dr. Lynn T. Kozlowski, Professor of Public Health, began by implementing a survey involving some 105 military volunteers from the both the U.S. National Guard and the U.S. Army.  The sample group was later expanded to include over 400 soldiers and members of their immediate families. 

  • The initial group was comprised of 53 men and 52 women.
  • The average age was 30.2 years, ranging from 18 to 45 years old.
  • Corresponding levels of formal education were also documented.
  • The ethnic diversity of the control group was somewhat mixed:
    • 83 percent Caucasian
    • 8 percent Black
    • 6 percent Hispanic
    • 8 percent “other”
  • Soldiers surveyed were broken into three different levels of vapers:
    • Triers
    • Not Daily Users
    • Daily Users
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By asking a pointed series of questions over multiple surveys, the researchers discovered that the soldiers’ levels of enjoyment from vaping tended to increase as they progressed through the three different stages.  Furthermore, their initial perceptions of e-cigs as being “dangerous” were substantially diminished as time moved forward.

“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 University of Buffalo vaping study 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 is published in its entirely online journal Preventative Medicine Reports.

A series of 12 explosions suspected to be the result of overheated batteries from vaping devices seems to be a major contributing factor to the temporary Navy ban.  Reports of first-degree burns, on-ship fires, and other related injuries resulting in a total of 77 combined days out of work for the affected sailors are causing Naval commanders to demand further investigation before making a final ruling.

Related Article:  U.S. NAVY CONSIDERS NEW STANCE ON VAPING


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