Northwestern University was recently the primary recipient of a $24.8 million grant to study the long-term impact of vaping on millennials.
Smoking continues to kill more people each year than any other preventable cause. Because of this, it’s as important as ever that we take full advantage of the effective harm reduction and smoking cessation tools at our disposal.
Vaping has long suffered from poor public perception, but a growing pile of evidence has begun to shift the tide according to some experts. As such, the community is excited about reports of a new longitudinal study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Both sides of the debate have a vested interest in the outcome of the planned research. While vaping advocates expect more support for the value of e-cigarettes over continued smoking, opponents are hoping for the first real evidence connecting vaporizers with increased teenage smoking.
It will be quite a long time before we have the results of this new report. However, it’s already fanning the flames of a hotly debated topic.
Newly Funded Study
The primary recipient of the $24.8 million grant is researchers at Northwestern University. It’s been fully funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is part of The National Institutes of Health.
It will be the first federally funded vaping report to specifically study millennials, aiming for around 4,000 healthy adult participants between the ages of 25 and 35. Their main objective is to identify any significant biomarkers or risk factors which may be related to decreased lung health.
Another main objective of the report is to help health care providers understand how to identify any developing problems in vapers. The evidence so far strongly supports the harm reduction value of vaping, but reports like this will help provide a definitive answer.
According to a release, researchers will have access to the American Lung Association’s network of clinical research centers in 17 metro areas around the country. The researchers will follow the same participants for at least the next six years. They hope to be able to renew the grant so they can continue to check in with these individuals for the rest of their lives.
The report will be specifically interested in uncovering any environmental risk factors for lung diseases later in life. To accomplish this, the researchers will ask participants about where they lived at crucial points in their lives, as well as collecting environmental data for their specific location.
A Growing Pile Of Research
This newly funded report will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the understanding of e-cigarettes moving forward. That said, we already have a large pile of peer-reviewed evidence supporting their value.
One of the most vital was conducted by researchers at Action on Smoking and Health. After talking to over 60,000 students, they concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping more than once or twice.
That report is even more vital in the face of rampant stories in the media claiming vaping is directly causing a new generation of smokers. Things are so bad, some reports find only around 13% of adults understand how much safer vaping is than continued smoking.
This harm reduction value is one of the most well documented benefits of vaping, with reports going back to 2015 by Public Health England indicating vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. More recently, reports have shown the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than demographically similar smokers.
However, for some, the harm reduction value of vaping is only part of their actual value. For these people, the reason vaping is held in such high regard is that it allowed them to end their tobacco habit once and for all. This has been backed by reports which found vaping is the single most effective smoking cessation tool on the market.
Anytime more money is being put into understanding the full impact of vaping, it’s a cause for celebration. We need more extensive and federally funded research supporting the value of vaping to prove to more people they’re worth legitimizing.
If we don’t, it may not take long before we find ourselves in a world in which we can barely recognize the vaping industry. For the millions of people who were able to finally quit smoking thanks to vaping, this would be a tragic loss.
So it’s more important than ever we work together to teach the smokers in our lives what vaping has to offer. The more people who understand the distinct differences between vaping and smoking, the easier it will be to secure and protect our rights.
What do you think about this latest report? How important is it that we understand how vaping effects long term lung health? What’s the best way to teach others about the value of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.