It has been a pretty good month for vapers everywhere. First the changes in policy at the FDA and now scientists are releasing more and more positive data about vaping.
There was another study that shows vaping is far less harmful than smoking and now this study published in the Addictive Behaviors journal showing that smokers who try using an e-cigarette to quit smoking are three times more likely to give up the cancer sticks than smokers who have never tried vaping.
[O]ur findings suggest that frequent e-cigarette use may play an important role in cessation or relapse prevention for some smokers
As the authors of the study point out, while much more data and surveys are needed, this data suggests to the lay person that e-cigarettes may be one of the best options available for actually getting away from smoking tobacco and controlling urges for nicotine.
About the Study
How it was conducted and Results
From the abstract of the published study:
This study merged data from the 2014 and 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and restricted the sample to recent smokers [i.e., current smokers and former smokers who quit in 2010 or later (n = 15,532)]. Log-binomial regression estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) for being quit by e-cigarette use status (i.e., daily, some day, former trier, never). All analyses controlled for factors traditionally correlated with smoking cessation.
This is more of a study using data collected in other studies on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation. The data was taken from 2010 on since there wasn't widely available e-cig devices before that period. The data itself is a couple of years old at this point and vaping as gotten far more popular since this time period.
A quarter of the sample (25.2%) were former smokers. The prevalence of being quit was significantly higher among daily e-cigarette users compared to those who had never used e-cigarettes [52.2% vs. 28.2%, aPR: 3.15 (2.66, 3.73)]. Those who used e-cigarettes on some days were least likely to be former smokers (12.1%). These relationships held even after accounting for making a quit attempt and use of other tobacco products.
Among the results of looking at the data, the strongest factor in those that quit smoking was whether the person was a daily vaper or not. This is a very significant finding.
Among those with a recent history of smoking, daily e-cigarette use was the strongest correlate of being quit at the time of the survey, suggesting that some smokers may have quit with frequent e-cigarette use or are using the products regularly to prevent smoking relapse. However, the low prevalence of cessation among infrequent e-cigarette users highlights the need to better understand this subgroup, including the individual factors and/or product characteristics that may inhibit cessation.
What does the author of the study say about regulation?
The FDA recently delayed rules that would have limited e-cigarettes on the market. 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.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, being a scientist himself, probably recognizes the patterns seen in the findings of similar studies.
This logical, non-hysterical look at the evidence has lead to the FDA changing the way it approaches these devices, from the everything is equally harmful approach taken in the past to a common sense approach based on actual levels of risk.