Health & Studies

People Who "Smoke" Ecigs Study

Researchers at the State University of New Jersey have conducted a study looking at people who “smoke e-cigarettes” and want to quit

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Rachel Rosen is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where Marc Steinberg works as an associate professor of psychiatry. Together, they have published a letter in Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal focussing on the number of vapers who would like to quit.

Given that the press release conflates vaping with the act of smoking is pretty damning as to its overall integrity. The Department of Psychology at Rutgers doesn’t manage to hit the heights of top choices for prospective students in New Jersey, and so the research has all the modesty of a hysterical child bellowing in a supermarket frozen food aisle while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Why won’t anybody pay attention to me?!”

Despite carrying a fraction of the risk of smoking, and that most vapers enjoy the act of vaping, they believe: “the harm reduction and cessation potential of e-cigarettes does not negate the need to address long-term e-cigarette use.”

“Most people who smoke e-cigarettes want to quit and many have tried to reduce their use,” they say. This, they add, “is the first to examine e-cigarette users' past attempts and current intentions to quit e-cigarettes in a representative sample of adult e-cigarette users in the United States.”

Most people might think that the best way to find out if vapers wanted to quit vaping would be to contact some and ask them. Rosen and Steinberg examined “data from the PATH Public Use Adult Files at Wave 3 (2015–2016).”

From their dabbling in the wonderful world of data manipulation, “The study found that more than 60 percent of e-cigarette users want to quit using e-cigarettes and 16 percent plan to quit in the next month. More than 25 percent have tried to quit using e-cigarettes in the past year.”

Marc Steinberg said: “Most of the discussion about e-cigarettes has focused on the relative harm as compared to traditional cigarettes, the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a cessation device, and the alarming increase of their use in children.

In addition to those issues, our data suggests that e-cigarette users do not want to use these devices forever. Eventually, they want to stop using e-cigarettes the same way a traditional smoker wants to quit smoking cigarettes.”

Rosen added: “The strategies that people reported using to quit e-cigarettes include many of the strategies we recommend for quitting traditional cigarettes such as FDA-approved nicotine replacement products or medications, counselling, and social support.”

“While e-cigarettes may be associated with reduced harm as compared to combustible cigarettes, they also are potentially addicting and the e-cigarette aerosol still contains toxic substances. As e-cigarette use continues to increase and as more e-cigarette users want to quit, it will be important to be ready to help those who may have difficulty stopping on their own.”

Prior to spending any time on this, a superficial look at the science would have shown them that vaping is far less addictive than smoking and the volume of nicotine absorbed much reduced. Anecdotally, vapers on the forum have spoken about how they are able to manage not vaping much easier than when they used to have to go without a cigarette.

Adding comments about particulates and teen vaping was just a buy-in to the current peur du jour, in the hope that the letter was picked up and circulated. It adds nothing to the body of evidence about vaping and stands as another example that some academics will do anything to justify their positions.

The notion that vapers should be quitting is grounded in the shame culture foisted on smokers and the belief that people shouldn’t be able to choose to do ‘dirty’ pastimes.

Do you want to quit vaping? Do you know someone who has? Share the story on the forum [link].



  • Interest in Quitting E-cigarettes Among Adults in the United States” by Rosen and Steinberg – [link]
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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