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Study shows switching to vaping is 61 percent effective in quitting smoking

A group of scientists conducting research on the health benefits of vaping as a smoking cessation tool have identified that e-cigs can be up to 61 percent effective in helping smokers quit long-term.  Using two groups of smokers and vapers along with a control group, the study consisted of nearly 1000 participates and lasted over two years.  It is one of the most extensive vaping studies of its kind to date.

What the scientists discovered is that vaping helps reduce the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.  The hand-to-mouth actions of vaping is also a significant factor in helping smokers to quit because it mimics those of smoking.  However, the researchers caution that dual use is not as effective in quitting smoking permanently as switching to vaping entirely. 

Overview of the Manzol vaping study

Co-author Dr Lamberto Manzol of the University of Chieti, Italy, led the research team.  The final paper is entitled Cohort study of electronic cigarette use: effectiveness and safety at 24 months, and it can be located on the Tobacco Control BMJ website.  Using regularly scheduled interviews with questionnaires conducted by phone and online, the scientists came to the following conclusions.

  • All participants were between the ages of 30 to 70 years old.
  • 229 were classified as “vaping only” participants.
  • 480 were classified as “tobacco smokers.”
  • 223 were classified as “dual users.”
  • “Vaping only” is defined as inhaling at least 50 puffs of any type of electronic cigarette per week.
  • “Tobacco smokers” is defined as individuals who smoke at least one cigarette per day.
  • Throughout the course of the study, those who identified as remaining completely smoke-free were tested for monoxide levels to confirm their claims.
  • Hospital discharge data was used to validate potential claims of adverse side effects associated with switching to vaping.
  • Of the “vaping only” group, 61 percent remained smoke-free at the end of the trial.
  • Of the “tobacco smokers” group, 23.1 percent managed to quit smoking long-term without the aid of vaping.
  • Of the “dual use” group, 26 percent achieved total abstinence from combustible tobacco.
  • Of the “vaping only” group, 18.8 percent managed to quit vaping while also remaining smoke-free.
  • Of the “tobacco smokers” group, 17.5 percent managed to quit smoking while remaining vape-free.
  • Of the “dual use” group, 14.3 percent managed to abstain from both vaping and smoking by the end of the trail.

While the research results indicate that switching entirely to vaping is the preferred and most effective method to quit smoking permanently, the data also shows that dual users can gain a smaller degree of associated health benefits.  Unlike other studies that suggest dual use is just as bad as smoking, the Italian study makes clear that tobacco harm reduction is the key concern. 

“E-cigarette use alone might support tobacco quitters remaining abstinent from smoking. However, dual use did not improve the likelihood of quitting tobacco or e-cigarette use, but may be helpful to reduce tobacco consumption. Adverse event data were scarce and must be considered preliminary.”

The study shows that if smokers can decrease their tobacco cigarette intake, then they will likely experience at least some level of improvement in their overall health.  As many vapers already know, it’s not the nicotine in tobacco cigarettes that kills you.  It’s the tar and toxins that will.  And the e-liquids in vaping devices are 100 percent tar- and tobacco-free.

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