In addition to being the most popular device, a recent study found that smokers who use vaping as a smoking cessation tool fair better than any other group
A study published last week seems to shed some light on one of the most frequently asked questions regarding vaping. How well do they function as a smoking cessation tool? Data from the 2013-2014 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study was used to compare the popularity and success of different smoking cessation tools. In addition to e-cigarettes, this included “cold turkey,” sanctioned nicotine replacement therapies (patches and gum), as well as prescription drugs. What researchers found was that not only was vaping the go-to choice for smokers looking to quit, but it was also the most successful at getting the job done.
This result is excellent news for vapers everywhere, reaffirming the value of e-cigarettes to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. Not only that, but it legitimizes the beliefs of countless vapers who feel e-cigarettes had a direct impact on their ability to finally quit smoking for good. But exactly how much better did vaping fair according to the researchers?
University of Louisville Study
The study was conducted at the University of Louisville and was headed by Dr. Brad Rodu. Dr. Rodu and his research partner, Dr. Nantaporn Plurphanswat, took all of the data from the PATH study and calculated the usage and success rate for the different strategies. Surprisingly, it was actually “cold turkey” that was the most commonly used strategy to quit smoking, soundly beating the next highest option, e-cigarettes, 1,522 vs. 459. Although it may seem odd at first glance, this should be expected, since all that’s needed to try quitting “cold turkey” is a desire. But the story becomes more interesting when you consider how successful each strategy was in fostering quit attempts. Of the 1,522 smokers who tried quitting by going “cold turkey” only 275 were successful, 18.06%. Compared with 128 successes out of 459 attempts with vaping, 27.88%.
As you can see, vaping was successful over 10% more of the time. The other strategies did not fair as well as either. Nicotine replacement therapies were used by 235 smokers and helped 42 of them quit, 17.87% and prescription drugs assisted 16 of 74 smokers to quit, 21.62%. These findings seem to suggest that vaping is not only one of the most popular quitting methods but is also much better at helping people stop than currently sanctioned smoking cessation tools like nicotine patches and gum. Findings like this once again bring into question why e-cigarettes have been vilified so thoroughly by government agencies.
It’s not just this latest report that is indicating the success of vaping, more and more studies are published every month linking the use of e-cigarettes with the ability to successfully quit smoking. Earlier this year, researchers at Rutgers and Columbia Universities released a joint study on how effective vaping was at helping smokers quit. They found that over half (52%) of daily vapers were able to stop, while only 28% of smokers who had never used e-cigarettes were successful. The team of researchers boasted about their findings, which they said were finally able “to reveal the patterns of cessation prevalence among e-cigarette users at a national level.”
Back in April of this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published the results of their 26-month study of daily cigarette smokers. They had set out to indicate which smoking cessation methods were most effective among a selection of ten strategies. Their results line up exceptionally well with the findings of the Louisville researchers, with vaping being about 10% more popular for smoking cessation purposes than FDA backed nicotine patches and gum (35.3% vs. 25.4%).
Studies like the one published last week are crucial in the fight for vaping rights. While the FDA is still primarily concerned with bad-mouthing vaping, independent researchers are getting a clearer picture of how useful vaping can be. It seems the many vapers who self-reported that e-cigarettes are what finally helped them kick the smoking habit for good were right after all. Three entirely unrelated peer-reviewed studies, all conducted by reputable institutions, have just this year published robust statistics that indicate just how valuable vaping could be if it were supported as an alternative, instead of equated with smoking.
According to a poll conducted by the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), only 13 percent of the general public believe that vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking. What’s worse is that over 25% of respondents instead believe that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous, than smoking. When you consider that the United Kingdom is one of the most vaping forward and friendly countries in the world, it becomes more apparent just how dire vaping’s public perception is on most of the planet. It’s more evident now than ever that to get a significant percentage of smokers to give vaping a shot, we must first improve the general public’s understanding of its benefits. That’s why studies like these that plainly indicate their value are so vital in the fight against false information.
Did vaping help you or someone you know finally quit smoking after years of trying? Are you surprised how popular and effective vaping is compared with other smoking cessation tools? What is the best way to start improving the public perception of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments.