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University of Louisville study shows 28% success rate of vaping to quit smoking

Deep in the heart of tobacco country, researchers from the University of Louisville in Kentucky are evaluating the popularity and efficiency of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool.  By comparing the success rates of e-cigs to other NRTs and prescription medications, the scientists discovered that vapers have at least a 28 percent chance of quitting smoking long-term.    

Kentucky is perhaps the best location to conduct such an experiment.  The state ranks #2 in the nation for the largest per-capita percentage of smokers, logging in at a whopping 26.2 percent.  Only West Virginia ranks higher.  Meanwhile, the Bluegrass State also has the highest percentage of smoking-related deaths at 228.8 per every 100,000 citizens.  With tobacco still a primary cash crop in Kentucky, vaping is still considered somewhat taboo in this old, southern state.

Overview of the University of Louisville vaping study

The research team led by Brad Rodu of the university’s School of Medicine published their findings on November 17 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH).  The study involves the evaluation of data provided by 11,402 current smokers and 4,919 former smokers compiled from the 2013-14 federal Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study.  The latter was conducted by none other than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the strategist behind the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the vaping industry by 2022.

  • The Louisville study involved data compiled from 16,321 participants: 11,402 current smokers and 4,919 former smokers.
  • Of the 16,321 participants, 18.5 percent or 839 respondents had previously tried to quit smoking at least once in the prior 12-months using one of several recorded options, including the cold turkey method.
  • 1,522 current or occasional smokers tried quitting cold turkey with 275 or 18 percent being ultimately successful.
  • Of that same group, 235 of the respondents tried quitting via “the patch” or other conventional NRTs. Only 42 were ultimately successful, or 17.8 percent.
  • 74 participants reported attempting to quit via prescription medications, such as Chantix, Zyban, Wellbutrin, and generic equivalents. 16 were ultimately successful, or 21.6 percent.
  • 459 current or occasional smokers tried quitting by switching to vaping. 128 were ultimately successful, achieving the highest percentage of 27.8 percent.
  • The data suggests that 2.2 million smokers used vaping as a smoking cessation tool in 2013-14.
  • NRTs were used by about 1.4 million people.
  • Prescription drugs scored about 418,000 smokers.
  • Smokeless tobacco products were used by about 124,000.

The cold turkey method is still a very popular smoking cessation method, but the related success rates are widely proven to be very unreliable and inconsistent.  As a result, the Louisville research team essentially endorses vaping as an effective tool for tobacco harm reduction in the conclusions section of the paper.

“E-cigarettes were used by American adult smokers as quit-smoking aids in 2013–2014 more frequently than NRT products or prescription drugs. In addition, they were the only single quit method with a significantly higher proportion of former smokers than unaided quitting.”

The results of the University of Louisville research are further supported by an earlier study of a similar nature conducted by scientists from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Public Health.  The latter study shows a 52 percent success rate for vaping as a smoking cessation product. 

The discrepancy in percentages may be partially due to the two-year gap in data between the different studies. Over the past several years, vaping has become increasingly more popular among smokers trying to quit.  Other factors may also be at play, but the data from both studies seem to draw the same conclusion.  Vaping works.

Related Article:  COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: OVER 50% OF DAILY VAPERS QUIT SMOKING LONG-TERM

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