vaping save lives

A group of researchers lead by Dr. David Levy, an oncologist at Georgetown University, has released a study of various scenarios showing that society switching from smoking to vaping could save up to 6.6 million early deaths in the United States alone. The study also showed that by replacing smoking with e-cigarettes could add a significant amount of years on to a life potentially cut short.

The research was published in Tobacco Control, a peer-reviewed journal with the focus on reducing harm from smoking. The purpose of the study, as stated by the authors is to 'advance tobacco control progress' by presenting an alternative to a future of more of the same government policies of limiting smoking harm by attrition. 

This new study comes after several other positive studies regarding vaping have been released showing that vaping is 99% less carcinogenic than smoking and daily vapers have the highest smoking cessation rates.  How will the anti-vaping control freaks ever recover?

About the Study

Introduction US tobacco control policies to reduce cigarette use have been effective, but their impact has been relatively slow. This study considers a strategy of switching cigarette smokers to e-cigarette use (‘vaping’) in the USA to accelerate tobacco control progress.

Methods A Status Quo Scenario, developed to project smoking rates and health outcomes in the absence of vaping, is compared with Substitution models, whereby cigarette use is largely replaced by vaping over a 10-year period. We test an Optimistic and a Pessimistic Scenario, differing in terms of the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with cigarettes and the impact on overall initiation, cessation and switching. Projected mortality outcomes by age and sex under the Status Quo and E-Cigarette Substitution Scenarios are compared from 2016 to 2100 to determine public health impacts.

Findings Compared with the Status Quo, replacement of cigarette by e-cigarette use over a 10-year period yields 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost in the Optimistic Scenario. Under the Pessimistic Scenario, 1.6 million premature deaths are averted with 20.8 million fewer life years lost. The largest gains are among younger cohorts, with a 0.5 gain in average life expectancy projected for the age 15 years cohort in 2016.

Conclusions The tobacco control community has been divided regarding the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco control. Our projections show that a strategy of replacing cigarette smoking with vaping would yield substantial life year gains, even under pessimistic assumptions regarding cessation, initiation and relative harm.


About the assumptions made for the two scenarios:

The Optimistic Scenario is based primarily on current use patterns in e-cigarettes and published evaluations of harm reduction, while the Pessimistic Scenario is intended to reflect the ‘worst case’ of suggested harms (eg, with e-cigarettes more harmful than the science indicates), and the switching strategy substantially increasing vaping beyond those who would have smoked in the Status Quo Scenario.

While the optimistic scenario has the most positive outcomes, the pessimistic scenario still projects 1.6 million fewer deaths!  This is even with the assumption that e-cigarettes are worse than science indicates (the hysterical negative assumptions we have all heard).

Further down in the research paper, there are some real gems to be found.  There was a vast amount of work that was put into this study (71 citations!) and the discussion section is fairly interesting. Check it out if you have the time.

Highlights and Interesting Statements

Those who replace cigarettes with e-cigarette use before age 40 years are treated as never smokers using e-cigarettes, since their risks as former smokers will be close to that of never smokers.
-- Levy et. al.

Quit smoking as soon as possible! You can still recover. We are all going to make it.

Under the Optimistic Scenario, a cumulative total of 19.5 million (14.0 million male; 5.5 million female) premature deaths and 161.9 million (115.0 million male; 46.9 million female) LYL are projected. Compared with the Status Quo Scenario, a net gain of 6.6 million (4.8 million male; 1.7 million female) fewer premature deaths and 86.7 million (62.9 million male; 23.9 million female) fewer LYL are projected, representing 25% fewer premature deaths and 35% fewer LYL.

LYL is life years lost.  Wow! A potential of 25% fewer early deaths and 35% fewer years lost. Who was against vaping again? 

On the other hand, 86.7 million more years together? I'm against vaping now! 

Some public health experts and officials fear that e-cigarette use ('vaping’) may increase overall tobacco-related harms by serving as a gateway to smoking or prompting smokers to vape or engage in dual use instead of quitting all use. However, evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes deliver only a small percentage of the toxicants delivered by cigarettes. In addition, newer e-cigarettes models have been shown to more efficiently deliver nicotine than older models and provide sensorimotor experiences and ‘throat-hit’ similar to smoking, thus increasing their potential to serve as effective substitutes for cigarettes.

Quite right. The evidence is mounting supporting what some of us have known for years.  Vaping has less toxicants than smoking, serve as good substitutes for smoking cigarettes and technology is getting better all the time. Just look at the evolution of vape tanks and box mods. Not only is the tech getting better but manufacturers are making safer juice all the time. 

... tobacco industry documents reveal an industry strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ focused primarily on fostering divisions within the tobacco control community regarding modified risk products. Indeed, the tobacco control community has had divided approaches to e-cigarettes, and in the process may have lost focus on cigarettes, the most deadly form of nicotine delivery. 

There is a citation on this statement so it isn't just conjecture. The tobacco industry has purposefully set out to get the researchers to focus on the dangers of vaping to distract from focusing on actual smoking. Suspicions confirmed!

If some of these anti-vaping tobacco control advocates focused on smoking traditional cigarettes instead of vaping perhaps more people, particularly current smokers, would recognize that e-cigarettes are not 'just as bad as smoking' and try to save their future health.