As lawmakers debate how to handle the growing ecig trend, there is a great deal of confusion about whether ecigs are really a better option than smoking. Do ecigs really reduce your health risks? Is vaping really safer than smoking? The National Institutes of Health has issued a $3.6 million grant to the Moffitt Cancer Center to conduct a five-year study in hopes of gaining some crucial answers to the looming questions. The goal is to learn whether vaping is helpful for smoking cessation and how it will impact the user’s health over a five year period of time.
Dr. Thomas Brandon, the director of the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at Moffitt Cancer Center said scientists are already behind on ecig research. “Industry is very quick to gear up and market new products,” he explained, “but research takes longer.”
Brandon knows that ecigarettes are now a common choice for smokers, but he hopes this new study will give lawmakers a better view of how vaping is impacting public health. “Most people who use them say they use them to stop smoking.”
Many smokers opt to switch to ecigs as an alternative to tobacco products. By eliminating the carcinogens from burning tobacco, smokers are exposed to far fewer chemicals. However, lawmakers still question if they are completely safe and that is why this new study will be important for future legislation.
For now, we can only rely on stories from smokers who have managed to quit using ecigs. For example, Martin Callery, a 31-year-old, smoked for more than 15 years. Then his mother died from heart disease that was likely caused from tobacco use and he knew that he had to find a way to quit smoking for good. He turned to ecigarettes and has been able break his tobacco addiction and even gradually reduce his nicotine consumption over time.
Stories like Callery’s are important and Brandon said that is what they will look for in the upcoming study. They will follow up with three groups of people over five years: those who only use ecigs, those who smoke regular cigarettes and vape ecigs, and those who have successfully quit using both. He expects to find that ecigs are less harmful than cigarettes, but he’s not sure if the study will prove them to be completely safe. “We’re pretty sure they’re less dangerous,” he said. “We’re just not sure how much less dangerous.”
Are you an ecigarette user that would like to participate in the upcoming study? Find out if you are eligible by contacting Moffitt Cancer Center’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at 1-877-954-2548.