Vaping study: Millennials could see smoking-related deaths drop by 20% or more
Life is looking good for Millennials, according to a vaping study funded by three highly regarded public health agencies. If the findings prove to be correct, the generation born after the year 1997 should experience a dramatic decrease in smoking-related deaths by as much as 20% or more. Led by Dr. David Levy of the Georgetown University Medical Centre, the research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISMN).
The Levy vaping study
The inspiration for the study was an often-debated theory floating around the Internet that claims teens who vape or far more likely to become addicted to smoking as adults. To be clear, there is no basis for this claim. The surge in polarity of vaping has only recently occurred over the past five years. So, supporting documentation proving this theory is virtually impossible to locate. It simply doesn’t yet exist.
But the NCI, the NIDA, and the CISMN are still very curious to learn if vaping is indeed the miracle tobacco harm reduction tool that the industry claims it to be. The Levy study begins by soliciting the help of several volunteers consisting of daily smokers, former smokers-turned vapers, social vapers, social smokers, and those who had never vaped nor smoked.
The control groups of participants were modeled based on multiple behavioral factors surrounding tobacco and nicotine consumption rather than simple age-based criteria. The findings are compiled and published in a paper entitled The Application of a Decision-Theoretic Model to Estimate the Public Health Impact of Vaporized Nicotine Product Initiation in the United States readily available via the Nicotine & Tobacco Research website.
“…modeling can provide a structure to analyze the public health impact under different assumptions about how VNPs (vaporized nicotine products) might be used. This paper presents a decision-theoretic model of the public health impact of VNP use in the United States. Unlike previous models of e-cigarette use, our model is cohort- rather than age-based. While cohorts may differ in terms of awareness, perceived risks, products available (eg, flavorings, ability to satisfy nicotine cravings), and user characteristics (eg, early vs. late adopters, high vs. low income), we model the potential impact of VNP initiation on VNP and cigarette use using a recent cohort of young people.”
The co-authors also point out that many previous vaping studies surrounding the theory of teen vaping usually fail to include such a diverse group of participants. One such cited exampled in a research paper published by the University of Southern California in collaboration with the University of California.
In the California study, the threshold protocols for participant approval were so low that almost anyone could be welcomed into the program. All that the applicant had to do was to agree that they had at least experimented with a vaping device only once in the previous 30-days. The Levy team demanded a vaping study with significantly stricter guidelines across the board. After all, teens of every past generation have experimented with smoking. Millennials are just lucky enough to have been born during the Age of Vaping.
"Those are not the people we are concerned with," says Dr. David Levy. "We tried to get an idea of the number of people who progressed to established use."
This public stance taken by the Levy team is another factor that sets their study apart from the thousands of others surrounding vaping as a gateway to teen smoking. Perhaps even more noteworthy, the paper also suggests that excessive overregulation by local, state, and federal government agencies could stifle innovation and potentially eradicate the entire industry. To summarize the research, vaping has the potential to save millions of Millennial lives, but only if the U.S. government doesn’t kill vaping first.