Dr. Farsalinos Shows at Least 6 Million EU Vapers Have Quit Smoking
More than six million European Union smokers have quit smoking by using vapor products, according to a new study published in the journal Addiction. Another nine million have reduced their cigarette usage. The study estimates there are 7.5 million current vapers in the EU, and that 35.1 percent of them have quit smoking completely.
“These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study,” said Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist at the Onassic Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece, and the principal investigator of the study. “The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1. High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2. Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers.” Farsalinos was quoted in a press release from the University of Patras in Greece.
Goodbye, Gateway Theory!
Jacques Le Houezec, a neuroscientist and researcher at the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research, addressed the “gateway” issue. “In non-smokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal. Just 1.3 percent of non-smokers reported current use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and 0.09 percent reported daily use.”
“Practically, there is no current or regular use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes by non-smokers,” added Le Houezec, “so the concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”
The results confirm findings in the UK, where Prof. Robert West’s Smoking Toolkit Study has showed little uptake of e-cigs by non-smokers, and almost no regular use by anyone except smokers and ex-smokers. American surveys have used measures designed to cast doubt on the effectiveness of vaping and create fear about its adoption by teenagers. They often look at use anytime in the last 30 days and count that as “regular use,” or call those who have ever tried vaping just once “users.”
Good Survey Data = Trustworthy Results
This study used data from the European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey. “The questionnaire of the Eurobarometer is probably one of the most detailed ever used in analyzing electronic cigarette use on a population level,” said Prof. Konstantinos Poulas, a biochemistry professor at the University of Patras. “It provides detailed information about the frequency of use, differentiates experimentation from regular use and examines the use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes. Moreover, the survey enrolled a large sample of Europeans which was representative of the total EU population. A similar design should be used in all population studies.”
“For over seven years, tobacco control activists have loudly proclaimed that there is no evidence that vapor products help smokers quit,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, in an AVA press release. “As the evidence supporting the efficacy of vaping has piled up, these activists have continually doubled down on their denialist attitudes. In the process, the anti-harm-reduction camp has embraced worse and worse science to support their outdated views.
“It’s time for a reality check for tobacco control. There is a reason why distinguished and respected groups like the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England are coming out in support of vapor products. These technology products are helping smokers quit and it is entirely unethical to continue to deceive smokers about their potential risks and benefits.”