Two new studies: vaping can help smokers quit

Researchers in England and California say that vaping is helping smokers quit and stay off cigarettes

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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

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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.

"Among those making a quit attempt, use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid surpassed that of FDA-approved pharmacotherapy."

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!

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Jim McDonald
I spend most of my time studying the regulatory, legislative and scientific challenges to vaping, advocating for our right to exist, and talking with others who do the same. Consider me a source for information, and feel free to agree or disagree with anything I say. I love good coffee and sweet Michigan cherries. My childhood hero was Gordie Howe.
  • tmom

    I smoked for 50 years. I tried the drugs, made me smoke more. I tried the gum, made me sick. I was up to 2 packs a day. I tried ecigs at 30 mgs, I quit smoking cigarettes in 1 day 3 years ago, and never went back. It works! and I’ve gone down to 3 mgs nicotine!

    • Jim McDonald

      Congratulations!

  • ShishkaBerry

    Just over 7 months tobacco free, thanks to vaping!