NYU Supports E-Cigarettes As Being “Substantially Less Harmful Than Cigarettes” NYU Supports E-Cigarettes As Being “Substantially Less Harmful Than Cigarettes”

Research into viable smoking cessation devices concluded that vaping is one of the best tools we have at our disposal

One of the most significant fights for public health is that of helping smokers quit cigarettes. Quitting for most is extremely difficult. Many in the scientific community feel that harm reduction tools are one of the most effective means for lessening tobacco use, and it’s subsequent effects on public health. As a result, many studies on the topic have been commissioned and a growing number support the belief that vaping is one of the most effective and popular tools on the market.

A study by researchers out of NYU focused on ANDS or Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems. They studied many different systems to understand the pros and cons of each tool. One of the most significant conclusions of the study was that in order for harm reduction tools to have maximum effect societal perceptions of these tools needs to be overhauled. Total cessation, of course, is the safest and most healthy method to help smokers quit. However, these harm minimization tools offer support for smokers struggling and can be some of the most powerful tools to improve public health and smoking cessation around the world.

Vaping Misconceptions   

Most people view nicotine as the main negative of smoking traditional cigarettes, and smoking is by far the leading method of nicotine ingestion. However many of the most dangerous parts of tobacco use originate from other carcinogenic chemicals laced through cigarettes. It is these chemicals that caused so much death and disease, not the nicotine. Many doctors agree that on its own nicotine, as far as health risks and effects on the body, is most similar to caffeine. Many people don’t understand this and wrongfully see nicotine as being the main cause of health problems. For decades nicotine gums and patches have been the best method for safely ingesting nicotine. For the past few years, however many studies have proven e-cigarettes and vaping to be a more satisfying product and, more importantly, more effective at helping smokers quit.

Dr. David Abrams, the lead author on the NYU report, believes that a big part of helping people quit is changing the misconceptions around these cessation products. In reviewing the toxicology of the products available, his team found the harmful chemicals in cigarettes were dramatically lower in e-cigarette vapor. These findings line up with a report by Public Health England that estimated vaping to be at a minimum 95% safer than smoking.

Applications Of Vaping

While patches and gum have been proven safe to use, one of the biggest issues they face is that they don’t provide the same satisfaction and feeling that smokers get with traditional cigarettes. Vaping on the other hand lines up with many of the habits and physical sensations that accompany smoking. While gum and patches may be marginally safer than vaping, the complete change in those feelings leaves smokers wanting. Vaping provides a more reliable alternative that also fulfills the habitual desires.

The British Psychological Society thinks that these sensations in large part contribute to the effectiveness of vaping. The psychological signals that vaping shares with smoking strongly improve a smoker’s ability to follow through with quitting. Dr. Abrams agrees with this idea: “a smoker who finds an e-cigarette that is enjoyable can switch. Successful switchers have either switched quickly or slowly after a period of both vaping and cutting back on smoking by trying a flavor other than tobacco.”

Implications

In the US, the FDA seems to have come around to the validity of vaping as a cessation tool after years of support by the scientific community. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, announced last Summer that the FDA would need more time to decide on vaping, pushing back the proposed deeming rules until 2022. Gottlieb has stated that their primary goal should be making traditional tobacco products less addictive. According to the work of Dr. Abrams and his team vaping and public support of vaping could have a massive impact on tobacco consumption, public health, and Big Tobacco as an industry. With all this evidence to the effectiveness of vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool, we ought to be supporting them instead of regulating them further.

Do you agree that vaping is preferable to patches because of the added cues? How can we teach a wider group of people about the true benefits of vaping? What makes vaping such an effective smoking cessation tool? 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.

 

David

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.