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Why 'Why Vaping Doesn’t Help Smokers Quit' Isn’t True

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A new study published by researchers from Georgia State University claims to show that vaping devices don’t actually help analog smokers quit. Researchers pooled a group of more than 1,000 American adult smokers over the course of a year, and the study found that more than 90 percent of these people who vaped were still smoking cigarettes after that year. These individuals were deemed “dual-users.” Among that group of dual-users, 54 percent were still vaping in addition to smoking, and 37 percent had reverted to smoking traditional cigarettes. The researchers also found that vapers were more likely to try to quit smoking, but their attempts did not equal a greater success than those of people who did not try to switch to an e-cigarette (otherwise referred to as ENDS – electronic nicotine delivery systems) in the study. The study states that “no evidence” was found to support the claim that smoking cessation devices aid people in their endeavor to quit smoking [on a large scale].

Not to discount science, but on the opposite end of the spectrum we have the American Cancer Society advocating vaping for smokers who can't quit. On June 11, the ACS issued a public health statement rallying behind the usage of smoking cessation devices. The article from The Libertarian Republic states that while the ACS originally warned against e-cigarettes they broke from this way of thinking and acknowledged that traditional cigarettes are the “primary enemy of public health.”

The ACS claims that it wants to help change the public’s false opinions, which will hopefully then lead to a dramatic decrease in smoking rates in the United States. “Many adults believe, erroneously, that ENDS are as harmful as combustible tobacco products,” the ACS said in its public statement. “Although many ENDS deliver nicotine ... they do not burn tobacco, a process that yields an estimated 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 carcinogens. Thus, public misunderstanding underscores the urgent need for consumer education to ... reinvigorate smokers’ understanding of the importance of quitting combustible tobacco.”

According to an article posted by Manila Standard, Dr. Joe Kosterich of Australia stated that vaping is “95 percent less harmful than smoking” during the 5th Global Forum on Nicotine, which was held in Warsaw, Poland, June 14-16, 2018. Kosterich says that there is sufficient evidence to confidently state that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. “If we wait 20 years [for more studies] to find out ... a lot of people would have died unnecessarily.” Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are currently illegal in Australia.

Dr. Caitlin Notley of the University of East Anglia came to the same conclusion as Kosterich, which is that e-cigarettes are “at least 95 percent less harmful than tobacco smoking." Her research team performed thorough interviews with a small pool of vapers, and through their in-depth questioning they discovered a trend that opposes Georgia State’s claim that vaping did not help smokers quit long term. To be fair to Georgia State, its pool was much larger than UEA’s and targeted at American smokers; however UEA’s researchers were able to conduct a more intense, personalized interview with each participant. Most of UEA’s participants had a history of attempting to quit smoking, but a small percentage (17 percent) were deemed “accidental quitters.” These were people that tried vaping on a whim, with no intention to quit smoking, and discovered that they much preferred it to smoking traditional cigarettes. Notley’s study was funded by Cancer Research UK, which had been around since 2002.

For every study that is published claiming vaping is either just as harmful as smoking or that it does not benefit those who are trying to quit, there are a handful of other studies that claim otherwise. As is typical in most instances though, the minority will always outshine the majority and take the spotlight, which is one of the prevalent reasons anti-vaping propaganda is so popular. People as a whole are not accepting of change, and e-cigarettes threaten to change the way our society has thought for many, many years.