More large studies find strong correlation between frequent E-cigarette use and successfully quitting smoking.
There are many opinions about how dangerous E-cigarettes are and how effective they can be as a smoking cessation tool. If you only want evidence to back up your predetermined stance it won’t take long to find several studies to do just that. This is why peer reviewed consensus is so important. It’s been the holy grail on agreeing what is theory and what is fact for over 340 years. Scholarly publication has continued to be based on peer review despite seismic changes in society and technology.
With this in mind, the evidence has been pouring in for several years that vaping is actually an extremely successful smoking cessation tool. It is quite possible to find articles that rebuke this claim, but many of these studies are smaller in scope and tend to group daily vapers and occasional vapers together. This in and of itself is problematic because evidence on both sides agree that vaping occasionally is not nearly as effective for smoking cessation as vaping habitually. What’s worse is how this affects those who would use E-cigarettes to quit if they had the correct information.
Two more studies have been added to the relative mountain of information backing vaping. The first, out of Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, was headed by Dr. David Levy along with several colleagues. The study set out to understand how vaping affects the success rates of quitting attempts, as well as the circumstances of attempts that lasted three months or more. Using a recent large scale representative sample of the US, researchers split the participants into several groups based on frequency of making a quit attempt, length of attempt, and frequency of vaping during attempt. They found that the more often participants used E-cigarettes the more likely they would be to stay quit for at least three months. Researchers also found a linear correlation between the success of quit attempts and the frequency of vaping, noting that five days was the point at which success began growing rapidly. The researchers concluded, “Consistent with randomized trials and those observational studies that measure frequency of E-cigarette use, both quit attempts and quit success were positively associated with increased frequency of E-cigarette use. Frequency of E-cigarette use was important in gauging the nature of these relationships.”
The second large study to recently support the cessation utility of vaping was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Noteworthy about this particular study is that it was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute, meaning that it in no way was paid for by the vaping industry or its advocates. Researchers set out to determine if the rise of vaping, starting in 2010, resulted in a rise of the success rate for smoking cessation at the national level. To do so they studied data from over 160,000 participants and found that vapers were almost twice as likely to succeed at quitting than non-vapers. This resulted in less smokers overall by helping more smokers succeed at quitting. They concluded that the increase in vaping has lead to a “statistically significant” rise in the smoking cessation rate and should therefore be considered carefully when legislators and health organizations are making or changing policy.
The Fight Continues
While it’s fantastic more and more evidence is being released that backs vaping as a smoking cessation tool, there are just as many pieces of legislation and health policies being released that fly in the face of the mounting facts. It is likely no matter how much peer reviewed evidence is published, the public understanding of vaping will not significantly change until we personally engage our friends about how vaping can help them quit for good. If we as a society agree that smoking is harmful and should be actively suppressed then it makes no rational sense to group a proven way to quit with smoking itself. No matter how similar they appear, scientific review suggests they couldn’t be much further apart.
Has vaping helped you quit smoking? Do you think that more evidence is enough to get the word out? Should vaping be grouped with smoking in policy making? Let us know what you think in the comments.