“We will be recruiting several hundred pregnant smokers and randomising them to use NRT and behavioural support, or an e-cigarette and behavioural support and then we will see how they get on,” Bauld told the paper. “We will look at ‘does it help them stop smoking, do they like it and is it safe’?”

“We are primarily interested in adult smokers who struggle to stop – that includes groups like prisoners, people with mental health problems and pregnant women,” Bauld explained. “We haven’t made much inroads into reducing smoking rates in these groups, so for these groups e-cigarettes offer real promise.”

This is the sort of research that almost never happens with vapor products, and would probably be impossible in the US, where vaping is assumed to be a danger. The commitment of British researchers like Prof. Bauld to explore the use of vaping as a harm reduction tactic has led to this exciting and potentially very valuable study.

In the US, research that might actually help smokers and their families — especially the at-risk groups that tend to smoke at higher rates than the general population — by honestly looking at possible benefits of vaping, would never get funded.

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