6.1 million vapers used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, according to study
The following is a guest post contributed by Pascal. All opinions expressed in this post are exclusively those of the author.
It’s possible that 6.1 million European smokers were able to quit thanks to vaping, according to a study published in the journal Addiction.
In vaping communities, there are countless anecdotes about long-term smokers who only managed to quit thanks to vaping. But this study is one of the first times that researchers have tried to turn those anecdotes into hard scientific evidence. If the study is correct, then it demonstrates that e-cigarettes are successfully being used a stop smoking tools — despite tough new FDA regulations which will make this more difficult.
The study was conducted by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, the same person responsible for debunking the infamous burnt coil formaldehyde experiment. He analysed extensive smoking statistics from 2014 and compared it to data released last year through the European Commission. He also surveyed nearly 30,000 Europeans to ask them about their smoking habits.
Dr. Farsalinos found that 35% of current e-cigarette users are smokers who had successful quit. He even found that vaping daily was correlated to a higher quit success rate. The researchers then extrapolated the data to the total EU population to arrive at the 6.1 million figure.
The researchers also suggested that a further 9 million vapers had managed to cut down on the number of cigarettes that they smoked thanks to vaping. This is great news for a couple of reasons: 1) cutting down on your cigarette intake is a good indicator that you’ll eventually quit and 2) smoking fewer cigarettes causes positive health outcomes for smokers.
These numbers don’t mean that e-cigarettes are a magic bullet — plenty of smokers have tried e-cigarettes and failed to quit. But it does mean that e-cigarettes are at least as effective as our most effective smoking cessation aids and far better than many nicotine patches and gums which only work about 6% of the time.
It’s also worth remembering that e-cigarettes are popular. This means that even if they are no more effective than prescription drugs, they will enable more smokers to quit because smokers actually enjoy vaping. The ‘enjoyment’ element if often overlooked by tobacco control, but smoking rates for adults dropped by an unprecedented 1.7% between 2014 and 2015, down to 15.1% — the lowest levels ever recorded. Even vaping’s strongest critics can’t deny that e-cigarettes deserve some of the credit.
Then there’s the ‘Gateway Theory’. With these six million successful quit attempts in Europe and a further three to four million successful quit attempts in the United States, it’s becoming blindingly obvious that vaping is a route out of smoking rather than a gateway in.
These are numbers that should be celebrated, especially by tobacco control. European expert groups such as Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians see e-cigarettes as an unparalleled opportunity for harm reduction. We can only hope that skeptical groups in the US such as the FDA take another look at the evidence and decide to re-evaluate their strict e-cigarette regulations.
This guest post was written by Pascal Culverhouse, owner of the Electric Tobacconist.