How effective is quitting smoking with vaping?
The advent of electronic cigarettes or ecigs began a debate over whether these new mechanisms are cessation aids are just another way to get a fix of nicotine. We know for sure that there are distinct differences between ecigs and cigarettes as far as additives are concerned. Traditional cigarettes contain many harmful additives, including carcinogens. As far as we know at this point, the only dangerous additive in ecigs is the nicotine itself. This makes vaporizing products very attractive in a society well aware of the dangers of smoking. But is there any evidence to suggest an increased success in quitting smoking with vaping. A new study says yes.
Results of the Study
On November 7, 2013, Fox News published a report conducted at the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers promoted surveys on ecig sites and other locations on the Internet that would attract Vapers. Roughly 1,000 people were attracted to the first phase of the study, which was a basic survey. One month later, they were asked to complete another. A final survey was done one year after the initial questionnaire. Only 367 completed all three.
The findings of these surveys show that the people in the study who used ecigs and had already quit traditional cigarettes were less likely to turn back to smoking. Only 6% who were using ecigs to maintain abstinence from traditional cigarettes had turned back to smoking. Those who had not quit but were vaping had either quit or reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked. Of those who were still smokers at the start of the study, 22% had quit within the first month and nearly half had quit by the end of the year.
Jean Francois Elter, an expert involved in the research, said that the findings “may not be generalizable [sic] to all Vapers.” This means that vaping may not work for everyone. However, in terms of giving up smoking, the same goes for gums, patches and medications touted as nicotine cessation products. He went on to state that it is not important for quitting using ecigs to be 100% safe. It is only important that it is safer than smoking tobacco, which is arguably pretty easy to accomplish.
Promising results but more needs to be done
One potential problem with the study is that successful quitters may have been more likely to follow through and around two-thirds of early participants did not complete it. It is impossible to know whether or not all of the initial survey participants failed or simply became disinterested in the surveys. Even those involved in the study know that further investigation is required and that the efficacy of ecigs as smoking cessation devices has yet to be proven, no matter how many success stories have come from vaping so far. Nonetheless, the results are undeniably promising.