How To Best Utilize Vaping As A Harm Reduction Tool, According To Science How To Best Utilize Vaping As A Harm Reduction Tool, According To Science

A new study indicates the best way to improve the efficacy of vaping as a safer alternative to smoking

Vaping, globally, has been fighting against poor public perception. A constant stream of misinformation, spread by anti-vaping lobbyists and mainstream media news outlets, have to lead to the misperception that vaping is as harmful as cigarettes. In truth, vaporizers are not nearly as dangerous as combustible cigarettes. Over the past few years, as more and more studies prove the benefits of e-cigarettes, some people are beginning to see the light.

It was in 2015 that Public Health England published their groundbreaking study that found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking.  Since then the UK has continued to be on the forefront of vaping research and support. A new study, out of the Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia took an in-depth look at how vaping works as a harm reduction tool.

The Study

The study was led by Dr. Caitlin Notley. Dr. Notley and her team gathered detailed information from a group of 40 vapers, looking into their smoking and vaping histories. When analyzing the trends of data the team immediately discovered some crucial themes.

One of the biggest takeaways is that vaping is, in large part, so effective as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool because it offers users many of the same physical, psychological, social, and cultural elements that you find in cigarette smoking. Dr. Notley notes that these have a significant impact on a smoker’s success in quitting. Many vapers discover that they don’t have to give up all of their favorite aspects of smoking when they switch to vaping. Notley even remarks that many find it enjoyable, “It is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking.”

The study also found that vaping is an excellent tool to help smokers quit. Almost all of the participants in the study has previously been long-term smokers, with many having often tried to quit unsuccessfully. They even found that 17% of participants had stopped without actively trying too. They use the term “accidental quitters” to refer to these few who tried vaping either because they were offered a vape or because they decided it on an impulse.

More Support for Vaping

This is one study out of many that have been taking place over the last decade, finding vaping to be very effective at helping people quit smoking. Not only are e-cigarettes effective at smoking cessation, but they are also wonderous for harm reduction. As stated before, PHE found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. This conclusion has been supported by the findings of many other studies as well. Another study found that a vaper is 57,000 times less likely to develop cancer, beyond their natural genetic disposition, than that of a comparable smoker.

Vaping has also been proven to be more effective than other smoking cessation tools. As Notley and her team found, the physical and psychological cues that vaping offers are very similar to those of smoking. A study out of the University of Louisville compared e-cigarettes with other forms for nicotine replacement, like nicotine gums, patches, and prescriptions. It found vaping to be the most successful of any of the tools, helping more people quit more effectively.


While Dr. Notley and her team conducted a study with a smaller sample size, they really went to great lengths to take a truly in-depth look at the participant’s experiences. This is another excellent study in support of vaping, proving that it is less harmful than smoking and effective at helping users quit. It’s studies like these, that tell the truth about vaping instead of sensationalized misinformation, that need to keep being spread by the vaping community.

If enough of the general populous learns the truth, that vaping has around 5% of the risk associated with smoking, then real change can start being made. It is when the public has a different opinion of these products that we will see vapers treated fairly, which will give vaping a much better chance to help bring us closer to a tobacco-free tomorrow.

Is it important that we learn more about the differences between smoking and vaping? Are you surprised that second-hand vaping is so much safer than smoking? How can we improve the public perception 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.


Katie Bercham - CocktailNerd Editor

Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 5 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community.