The study of over 15,000 individuals finds that daily vapers are three times more likely to quit than non-vapers
The public health crisis caused by tobacco has been well documented for a long time now. The latest numbers from the CDC state that “cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.” These grim statistics have only increased due to the stance of many governmental health agencies that e-cigarettes are still not well understood and therefore harmful in their own right. While the long term effects of full time vaping are still being studied rigorously, what is gaining popular acceptance among researchers is the fact that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. In fact, a new study out of Columbia and Rutgers Universities shows that vaping makes an exceptionally successful smoking cessation tool when used properly.
First Of Its Kind
The study, which was a joint effort of researchers from Columbia and Rutgers, became the first of its kind to studying vaping as the primary smoking cessation tool. Most studies looking at the success of smokers quitting focus on cold turkey or traditional pharmaceutical NRT’s such as nicotine patches and supplements. The study, which was undertaken by Daniel Giovenco and Cristine Delnevo, decided to focus on vaping because as they put it, “Amid decreasing rates of cigarette smoking and a rise in e-cigarette use, there is a need to understand population patterns of use to inform tobacco control efforts and evaluate whether e-cigarettes may play a role in tobacco harm reduction.”
They used data from the 2014 and 2015 National Health Interview Survey and began systematically breaking down participants into different groups. These groups were based on categories such as smokers who smoke “every day” vs. “some days”, former smokers who “quit in the last four years”, those who had smoked “at least 100 cigarettes”, and ones that currently don’t smoke “at all”. Other factors noted included their personal desire to quit, history on previous attempts with different devices, as well as age, ethnicity, education, and quality of insurance.
The researchers found that 52% of daily vapers eventually quit smoking for good, making them three times more likely than non-vapers to remain that way. They also identified that those under the age of 34 with higher levels of education are the most likely to quit smoking for good using vaping. However, its success as a smoking cessation tool may be limited for those who only vape occasionally. Dr. Daniel Giovenco of Columbia University found that only 12.1% of participants that only vaped “some days” were still former smokers, compared with 52% of daily users. Dr. Giovenco concluded that, “While questions regarding the efficacy of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation remain, our findings suggest that frequent e-cigarette use may play an important role in cessation or relapse prevention for some smokers.”
This study was the first to take an in depth look at vaping as the primary smoking cessation tool. However, as stated in their report, “the low prevalence of cessation among infrequent e-cigarette users highlights the need to better understand this subgroup, including the individual factors and/or product characteristics that may inhibit cessation.” If we continue to learn and educate about all of the practical benefits of vaping, it will only become easier to change the narrative for the better. We can make it into something that acknowledges vaping is not only much safer than cigarettes, but can actively help you quit smoking for good.