A study released just before the close of 2021 revealed that vaping has helped smokers quit cigarettes, even if it wasn’t their intention. The study, released by doctors from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, New York, and the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, reviewed the behaviors of 1600 adult daily smokers. It was discovered that vaping made smokers up to 8 times more likely to quit.
The study represents a double win for vaping. When many agencies are seeking to demonize the practice, it serves to demonstrate that not only is vaping a better choice than cigarettes, but it can actually lead to users quitting smoking altogether as a result.
What Makes This Study So Interesting?
While many vapers will already be aware of the benefits, this study brings to the fore the fact that vaping is a great tool to quit smoking for good.
In the words of Dr. Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of Health Behavior at Roswell Park, the results are ‘paradigm-shifting’. Hyland also stated: –
“We found evidence that the use of e-cigarettes could have a positive impact on this very hard-to-reach group of recalcitrant smokers.”
Why the enthusiasm?
Here are the findings of the study and what makes it such a glowing endorsement for vaping.
Many Of the Participants Never Intended to Quit
Many previously performed studies focused solely on participants who intend to quit smoking. While quitting smoking by going ‘cold turkey’ is not impossible, it obviously requires a strong degree of willpower to succeed.
By focusing on those who had no intention to quit, the results are startling. Essentially it shows that in certain cases, those who took up vaping could quit smoking even though that wasn’t their initial intention, thus proving the effectiveness of vaping technology. As detailed in the study, the group with the poorest health outcomes tends to be those who aren’t interested in quitting.
While not explicitly stated in the study, If vaping successfully helps those who weren’t going to quit, it stands to reason that it would be even more effective for those actively trying to give up combustible cigarettes?
The Study was Performed as Part of the PATH Program
The PATH program (short for Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health) is a nationally held study that began in 2013 to collect data and observe trends around tobacco use. This latest study forms a part of this program.
The PATH program works by participants being contacted once a year or every other year and then interviewed.
More than 250 papers have been published as part of the study, and there are over 49,000 participants to date. The study looks at the following areas: –
- Reasons why some use tobacco, and others do not
- Why did people start using tobacco
- Why do people fail to quit using tobacco
- How tobacco use varies based on gender, race, and age
- How people quit using tobacco
Most interestingly, the PATH study is a collaborative effort between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the case of the FDA, the ‘good news’ of this data seems to be being ignored, based on their current policies on vaping.
The Data is Expansive and Wide Reaching with Solid Results
As stated above, the PATH program is designed to capture a wide range of demographics. In certain circumstances, the data can be skewed based on demographics.
Examples of this are the fact that smoking is more prevalent amongst communities with poorer incomes. As recent cases have shown, these communities are most affected by vaping bans and taxes.
The good news with this study is that it proved that vaping was effective in causing smoking cessation across the board. The positive effects of vaping were seen in all areas of the study, independent of educational background, income, gender, or ethnicity. This demonstrates that it is a solution for anyone looking for an effective cigarette alternative.
Is the FDA Getting it Wrong?
As our regular readers will already be aware, the FDA has been far from kind to vapers and vaping in recent times. With the results of studies such as the above highlighting the effectiveness of vaping, it is hard to see how they could possibly continue portraying vaping as ‘harmful’, when it is quite clearly evident that it helps people quit smoking combustibles.
Even more intriguing (and perhaps a little confusing) is that the FDA, only days before the study above was released, authorized the marketing of reduced nicotine combustible cigarettes. According to Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco products: –
“Our mission is to find ways to stop tobacco-related disease and death. We know that three out of four adult smokers want to quit, and the data on these products show they can help addicted adult smokers transition away from highly addictive combusted cigarettes”.
Zeller seems to have missed the point and quite possibly this study. In a recent interview, he stated: –
“No e-cigarettes have been approved for use as safe and effective cessation aids”.
This undoubtedly will have supporters of vaping asking one question.
This is even more pertinent when viewed through the results given in the study above.
At the present time, there seems to be some contradiction in the policies promoted by the FDA.
Several million vaping products have been denied marketing approval under the FDA’s current Pre Market Tobacco Authorization (PMTAs), even though their own collaborative studies show that it is an effective way to quit smoking (even if you didn’t intend to). In the same year, they have approved combustible cigarettes for marketing and distribution.
For the uninformed, the justification is that these combustible cigarettes have reduced nicotine. However, it is not the nicotine in combustible cigarettes that causes harm. The burning itself and chemicals other than nicotine released in doing so are carcinogenic. Effectively, cigarettes could be ‘nicotine-free’ and still present a much higher risk than electronic nicotine delivery systems.
Users on Twitter called it accurately:
@FDATobacco you as professionals on this topic should know that Nicotine isn’t the dangerous component in smoking, correct?
It’s the combustion that creates the millions of deadly toxins, not the Nicotine. When will the FDA wake up & stop lying to people. #VapingSavedMyLife
— Stereo386 (not A bot) (@stereo386) December 23, 2021
e-cigarettes are safer. There’s no tobacco in them and you can purchase the liquids in many nicotine strengths all the way down to 0%.
Why aren’t you promoting this more?
— Ant.C. (@The__Red_Baron) December 23, 2021
A combustible cigarette with all the same carcinogens and respiratory poisons but with the least harmful constituent reduced.
Nicotine is not what kills people @FDATobacco. Shouldn’t a modified risk product reduce the harmful stuff?
I think you should review what “risk” means.
— #sonoflibertyradio (@nachtnoir) December 23, 2021
Same cancer with no nicotine? Makes sense. How can you pass a combustible and not pass every vaping product which is 95% safer for you than cigarettes.. Not because of nicotine but because there’s no carcinogens in vaping. Vaping is a #MRTP and the science backs that.
— Blues4Lyfe #harmreduction (@vapesaveslifes) December 23, 2021
A study confirming what we all know, that vaping helps people quit smoking is a very good thing. The fact that users never intended to quit smoking, yet did so anyway, is good news. At present, there seems to be a disparity between what the data (commissioned, in part by the FDA) is showing and their current policies. The double-think is even more confusing when we see what is being approved compared to much healthier alternatives.
Quitting smoking is difficult but is also lifesaving. Vaping makes this easier. Regular vapers will already know this. With any luck, someone will take note of the study’s findings, which prove, across the board and without bias to any particular demographic, that it is supremely effective in reducing the number of cigarettes smoked.