Not only is vaping an effective harm reduction tool, but reports also show it may be one of the best smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal.
Despite the years of vigorous anti-tobacco campaigning, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world. That said, we’re in a much better position now that we ever were, with many countries now enjoying an all-time low smoking rate. However, as the number of smokers declines, the ones who remain tend to have a much harder time quitting using traditional aids like nicotine patches or gum. The result is a ton of smokers who feel they have no legitimate options to help them end their dependence.
That’s why so many in the public health sector are focused on developing new and more effective smoking cessation tools all the time. Unsurprisingly to vapers who have seen the benefits first hand, e-cigarettes are gaining a reputation for being a game-changing harm reduction tool. In fact, a report published in the Harm Reduction Journal showed vaping could be the single greatest tool we have in the fight against tobacco. They even have a strong indication of why e-cigarettes have proven to be so successful.
The report published in the Harm Reduction Journal was headed by Dr. Caitlin Notley of the University of East Anglia. Dr. Notley, along with her team of researchers from their Norwich Medical School, wanted to understand the impact of vaping on smoking rates and uptake. They believe a growing misconception among the general public is causing many people not to understand exactly what sort of role vaping could play in their lives. To answer these questions, they provided a group of test subjects a set of long and short answer questions which attempted to understand their relationship and experience with e-cigarettes. The researchers used what is known as qualitative research to uncover deeper truths about the subject than your average quantitative analysis can provide. As you could imagine, these studies tend to focus on much smaller groups, but the research presented is incredibly thorough.
After collecting all their data, the team began the analyzation process. It didn’t take very long for some exciting patterns to start to emerge. For starters, many vapers firmly believe vaping is so effective as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool because of how satisfying it is. Researchers determined that because vaping and smoking share so many of the same visual cues, it tricks the brain into thinking it’s getting its fix. Impressively, the researchers discovered around 20% of vapers ending up quitting smoking without even consciously making an effort.
Just What We Needed
It’s great to get more reports like this, as it gives us a much more well-rounded understanding of the role vaping plays. We’ve already known since 2015 that vaping as at least 95% safer than smoking thanks to a report by Public Health England. While that story made huge waves at the time, these days we get this level of result reasonably often. In fact, just a few months back we got a report which concluded the toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. But you don’t truly understand how much is at stake until you learn about the report in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
It’s not only harm reduction either. We also have plenty of reason to buy into the value of vaping as a smoking cessation tool. A report conducted by the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation methods and aids to determine which was the most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt. After collecting all their data, the team concluded not only is vaping an effective quit aid, but it’s more likely to succeed than anything else, including prescription drugs. As for the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic,” a report of over 60,000 students conducted by Action on Smoking and Health determined that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vapes more than a few times. This means even fewer teens are being led to a life of smoking by vaping.
Improving the public perception of vaping remains one of the most important things we can do to protect our rights. We need large scale, quantitative research to give us a snapshot of the world and how different parts of it interact. That said, we also need qualitative research like this to provide a much deeper understanding of the data. Studies like this do a great job of proving to the general public there really is significant value in vaping. If we want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we simply must use all the best tools at our disposal, including vaping. The more we can do to improve the psychological impact of quitting, the easier it will be for smokers to quit.
Should more qualitative research be the goal? Why is vaping such a valuable tool? How can we make vaping even more effective as a quit aid? 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.