The paper “Electronic Cigarette Use and Cigarette Abstinence Over 2 Years Among U.S. Smokers in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study” used information from over 8,200 adults, making it one of the most reliable to date. Each smoker provided information about health, lifestyle and tobacco use. Participants then provided updated information every twelve months for two years.
Positively, at the outset, the authors report: “National evidence reviews from England and the United States have concluded that although e-cigarette use is not harmless, cigarette smokers who switch to e-cigarettes will likely reduce their smoking-attributable health risks.”
“E-cigarettes therefore have the potential for substantial public health benefit if cigarette smokers, especially those who are unwilling or unable to quit using current treatments, switch to e-cigarettes and stop smoking combustible cigarettes.”
One of the problems vaping faces in the United States is the lie coming from many quarters that vaping doesn’t work as a cessation tool. Worse, the likes of Stanton Glantz and the American Lung Association laughably contend that vaping increases the likelihood of smoking.
The team write: “In this nationally representative longitudinal cohort study of US adult cigarette smokers, daily e-cigarette use, compared to no e-cigarette use, was associated with a 77% increased odds of prolonged cigarette smoking abstinence over the subsequent 2 years. Non-daily e-cigarette use was not associated with subsequent abstinence.”
One in the eye for Stanton Glantz, they add: “These are the first nationally representative cohort study data to show an association between e-cigarette use and sustained combustible cigarette abstinence rates over 2 years. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that when used daily, e-cigarettes may help smokers to stop smoking combustible cigarettes, but that less frequent e-cigarette use may not do so.”
Explaining why non-daily users might not find success: “They may be aiming to reduce harm from cigarettes without committing to total abstinence. Another explanation may be that non-daily e-cigarette use is unlikely to completely control symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in daily cigarette users with high levels of nicotine dependence, and therefore these smokers will continue cigarette use to manage cravings and withdrawal.”
They conclude: “Smokers in this large nationally representative longitudinal study who used e-cigarettes daily were more likely to be abstinent from combustible cigarettes after 2 years compared to smokers who did not use e-cigarettes. Further defining the potential public health benefit that e-cigarettes could offer in terms of smoking cessation will require randomized controlled trials, but these observational data suggest that frequent e-cigarette use is associated with subsequent abstinence from combustible tobacco products.”