For the third time in recent months, a study shows clearly that vaping is helping smokers quit or stay off cigarettes. When will American public health officials and special interest groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association start to pay attention?
The new research shows that among established adult smokers in the last five years, daily vapers were more like to have quit smoking than those who never used vapes. Over the five year period studied, 52 percent of the daily vapers quit, versus just 28 percet of the non-vaping smokers.
The study comes from researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Public Health. It was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
The researchers used data from the National Health Interview Survey, and chose smokers and former smokers who quit between 2010 and 2015. After controlling for other factors known to predict quitting, the results were even more pronounced, with daily vapers being three times more likely to have quit than non-vapers.
“While questions regarding the efficacy of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation remain, our findings suggest that frequent e-cigarette use may play an important role in cessation or relapse prevention for some smokers,” said lead author Daniel Giovenco, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School.
“The FDA recently delayed rules that would have limited e-cigarettes on the market,” noted Giovenco. “This indicates that public health officials may be receptive to innovative and lower-risk nicotine products. Uncovering patterns of use at the population level is a critical first step in determining if they may present any benefits to public health.”
The evidence is mounting
In April, a CDC study showed that vaping was a clear favorite among smokers looking for a way to quit. The data showed that more than half of smokers trying to quit chose e-cigarettes rather than other products.
Then last month, a University of California-San Diego study — from the very heart of the tobacco control power structure — found that more smokers who vaped tried to quit smoking than non-vapers, and that almost twice as many of the vaping smokers were able to quit.
“I am sure there are people so committed to a quit-or-die approach that no amount or quality of research will make a difference,” David Sweanor, adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and tobacco control expert, told the Winston-Salem Journal.
At this point, public health officials should be making plans to reverse their opinions or be remembered as the people who fought to preserve the cigarette market that kills millions every year. The time is passing quickly for tobacco control zealots to get on the right side of history.