We already know West Virginia has the highest percentage of smokers in the country, but more research — this time by ProVape — indicates the Mountain State is the “most obsessed with vaping” of all the states.
If you’re wondering how one quantifies obsession, the research looked at populations having “the highest search levels for the phrases ‘Vape shop,’ ‘Vape,’ ‘Vaping’ and ‘Vapes.’” West Virginia outstripped the second-place state, Wyoming, by an astounding amount. (The research appears to have been compiled with lower scores indicating more obsession, so that West Virginia’s total score was a 6, Wyoming’s total score was 23, and California — least vape obsessed — scored 117).
Here’s the thing, the research was conducted by those hoping to market vaping as a safer alternative to smoking.
“This study proves just how popular the vaping scene has become in America and highlights which states are most interested in e-cigarettes,” ProVape said in announcing the research. “It is exciting to see how technology has adapted throughout the years, with many cigarette smokers trying to quit the traditional habit swapping to a vape. Using vapes in moderation could have tremendous benefits in the long run.”
And maybe that is it. Maybe we should be encouraged that West Virginians might be looking for ways to quit.
But if that is the case, it is important to understand vaping is not “safe,” even if it might be a bit less harmful than smoking. Johns Hopkins reports “In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and 68 deaths attributed to that condition.”
Vaping can be bad for your heart as well, as the toxic nicotine is still being inhaled. And, vaping can be just as costly and addictive as smoking.
More from Johns Hopkins: “Although they’ve been promoted as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes have not received Food and Drug Administration approval as smoking cessation devices. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up continuing to use traditional and e-cigarettes.”
That may mean we end up having the highest percentage of smokers AND vapers here at some point. That is a cost — both in terms of the financial hit AND our health — West Virginia simply cannot afford to pay.