A new study from doctors at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital confirms that smokers who vape regularly are far more likely to quit smoking than those who don’t vape. In fact, smokers who vaped daily were 77 percent more likely to quit and remain abstinent from cigarettes after two years.
The study was published online in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Interestingly, lead author Sara Kalkhoran is known for her 2016 meta-analysis, co-authored with Stanton Glantz, that purported to show that vaping actually reduced cessation rates for smokers.
The new study used data from the first three years of the FDA’s Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, and looked at more than 8,000 people who smoked. The subjects provided personal information about their health and smoking habits, and then checked in with updates after one and two years.
The researchers found that smokers who vaped every day were much more likely than those who vaped only occasionally to become ex-smokers at the end of the two-year period. Nearly twice as many of the smokers who vaped daily (11 percent) were able to quit than the participants that didn’t vape at all (6 percent). Those who vaped but not every day didn’t have better odds of quitting cigarettes by the end of the study.
“This finding suggests that smokers who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking need to use them regularly—every day—for these products to be most helpful,” Kalkhoran said. The study supports the idea of “accidental quitting,” the phenomenon well-known to vapers where smokers who also enjoy vaping switch completely for reasons that may have nothing to do with intentional cessation.
The new research adds to a growing evidence base showing that vapor products can help smokers quit. A study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that e-cigarettes were twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy products to help people stop smoking for at least a year.