What does Google have to say about vaping?


We live in an age where arguments down at the pub are easily solved by a quick Google search. We use it to find directions, book flights, diagnose our illnesses and of course, read up about vaping news and culture.

In this way, Google has become a measuring stick for what people are interested in, and it may come as no surprise that people are becoming more and more interested in vaping – according to what they’re Googling.

A six-year study was conducted in the Unites States by a joint team of John W. Ayers from the San Diego State University, and Rebecca S. Williams from the University of North Carolina. They, plus a team of researchers, looked at search history via the Google Trends tool, which shows what people search for and includes information such as keywords, geographic locations and dates.

They found that, when the study began back in 2009, the numbers of people searching for keywords related to electronic cigarettes was extremely low. By 2014, however, there were roughly 8.5 million Google searches in the US in this category, and the team predicted that this number would rise by 62 per cent in 2015, and only continue further upwards from there.

What’s also important to remember is that while Google easily dominates the search engine market with approximately 77 per cent of all searches going through this tool, other engines such as Yahoo, Microsoft Bing and Baidu still represent hundreds of millions of users every year. Therefore, it’s almost certain that the numbers of people researching vaping is even higher than this study shows.

One notable piece of information from the study also showed the nature of the searches. The researchers realised that the grand majority of Google keywords were related to purchasing products, rather than finding information about the products. For example, the number of times people looked for safety information on vaping represents less than 1 per cent of overall searches.