Did vaping work to help you quit smoking? You’re not alone. Two recent studies from the U.K. and U.S. confirm that e-cigarettes work as smoking cessation devices.
The British study was done by researchers from two departments at University College London, led by Emma Beard, and using data from Prof. Robert West’s Smoking Toolkit Study. The American study comes from the University of California-San Diego.
Vapers are quitters
The British study found that use of e-cigarettes “has been positively associated with the success rates of quit attempts after adjustment for a range of confounding variables.” They did not detect an increase in quit attempts, but among those who try, vapers seem to quit more frequently.
They estimate that use of vapor products accounted for about 18,000 additional long-term ex-smokers among the British populace. They also noted that regular use by people who have never smoked remains rare — less than one percent.
The California researchers looked at smokers over a two-year period. Some of them vaped during all of the two years, some for part of the time, and some not at all. They found that the long-term vaping “dual users” had a higher quit attempt rate than the other groups, and a much higher cessation rate.
More than 42 percent of the long-term e-cigarette users were able to quit smoking for three months or more, versus fewer than 16 percent of the other groups. The researchers concluded, “Among those making a quit attempt, use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid surpassed that of FDA-approved pharmacotherapy.”
An answer for the skeptics
These studies provide a response for anyone arguing the cessation value of vaping. The most well known paper on the topic is Stanton Glantz’s “meta-review” that purported to show that e-cigarettes actually decrease smoking cessation.
That study, plagued by methodological problems, has been widely dismissed by experts, but that hasn’t prevented it being quoted as gospel by anti-vaping ideologues. We had ammunition to debate Glantz before (as Greg Conley did in the clip below); now we have more.
Vaping advocates can use properly conducted studies to persuade skeptical regulators and legislators that encouraging adult access to vapor products will help smokers quit, which will improve public health and save on health care costs. And the more evidence we have of the benefits vaping offers, the more difficult it will be for committed opponents to smear e-cigs as a cessation tool. Tell your friends!