Cancer death rates drop sharply as vaping soars in popularity, says new report

While cancer death rates have been on the decline for nearly thirty years, recently published statistics indicate a significant drop in the last five years coinciding with the rise in popularity of vaping.  According to data provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS), national cancer rates plummeted by 350,000 saved lives in 2014 alone.  Over the past three years, rates plummeted by 1.7 percent.  These figures are rather astonishing when compared to the 1991 data indicating that an estimated 26 percent of new cancer diagnoses would eventually turn fatal.

The findings published in the ACS report were compiled from information obtained by physicians and oncologists across the country.  The primary objective of the study is to understand more clearly which factors increase the risks of terminal cancer and, alternatively, which factors can limit the threats.

The report entitled Cancer Statistics 2017 does not specifically discuss vaping, but it does credit the massive movement to end smoking currently taking place in American.  The ASC estimated that over two million lives have been saved over the past twenty years simply because the general public has been made more aware of the dangers of smoking.

Research shows vaping is helping to reduce cancer death rates

The ACS has had a contentious relationship with vaping over the years.  The national organization tends to lump vaping into the same category as smoking, perhaps in an attempt to follow the lead of the FDA which classifies both as tobacco products per its deeming regulations of 2015.  The ACS is usually very careful not to endorse vaping, citing the need for more research before an official recommendation or denouncement can be released.  In some cases, local representatives have even issued anti-vaping statements to the press.

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But a recent vaping study conducted by the University of California (UC) supports the idea that vaping is an essential contributing factor to the decline in cancer death rates.  The UC vaping study entitled E-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation: evidence from US current population surveys published on the BMJ website states that the recent rise in popularity of vaping over the past five years and the coinciding declines in cancer-related deaths are not a mere coincidence. 

“The substantial increase in e-cigarette use among US adult smokers was associated with a statistically significant increase in the smoking cessation rate at the population level. These findings need to be weighed carefully in regulatory policy making regarding e-cigarettes and in planning tobacco control interventions.”

The UC study also indicates that an estimated 65 percent of smokers who transition to vaping, even if they happen to partake in dual use for a short period, are far more likely to quit smoking altogether compared to only 40 percent of smokers who try to quit through more traditional methods.

The ACS findings are also mirror those of a recent 2017 report on national smoking rates published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC study entitled Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2016 shows that teen smoking rates in particular are at an all-time low, dropping to only 4.8 percent in 2016. While the official report does not specifically claim that teen vaping is not a gateway to smoking, the figures certainly seem to substantiate this idea.    

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