Ecig Revolution Called Into Question

Posted 1st March 2016 by Dave Cross
As a vaper, you probably have a strong opinion as to whether electronic cigarettes work or not as a cessation tool. The media, using the data released by the Office for National Statistics, puts a certain skew on its findings.

The Independent, not a news source known for attacking vaping to any great extent in the past, states: “78% of current smokers have either used e-cigs and disliked them, or never want to try them.” Although this isn’t being used to beat the new technology, it does use it as evidence that there’s “not quite a revolution, yet.”

Deciding on whether the products are efficacious or not depends on what criteria you use and what you consider to be a success. Maybe their efficacy is proven because you successfully made the switch? Maybe it’s that “1.3m current smokers [are] using e-cigs,” or “nearly 850,000 ex-smokers are using it too”? It lends weight to the Indie’s statement that “working out the benefits of the e-cigarette is not quite as simple as this donut chart suggests.”

The question remains for them, as it is posed by others: “is whether these ex-smokers would be smoking real cigarettes if it wasn't for e-cigarettes, or whether they might start again as they become regular users of the new fad.” Recently, a debate in a thread on the Planet of the Vapes forum mused over what constituted quitting. Is it enough to be not smoking now or does true cessation only occur when one has given up nicotine products completely? The latter is certainly the case for many of vaping’s detractors – and surveys indicating a willingness to return to smoking post-TPD add weight to the position.

The Washington Post follows a similar vein: “Can they [ecigs] help smokers quit? A recent clinical trial found no real difference between e-cigs and nicotine patches in helping people stop smoking: Neither were very effective.”

As the Mail points out in their reprint of a PA News article from the wire: “Just over half (53%) of e-cigarette users said they used vaping as an aid to quitting regular smoking.” For these people the answer is clear – vaping worked for them and they cling to the argument that vaping is not smoking. But what would happen if vaping were removed from the equation? What would you do if you could no longer buy your juice? Is that a real test of whether vaping works to produce long-term quitting in smokers?

For some, these questions are ones that do not require answering. It is enough for the likes of the New Nicotine Alliance that smoking has been replaced with a safer alternative. Sarah Jakes, NNA Trustee, writes: “among the public health community in the UK there are a number of individuals and key influencers who listened to consumers and were brave enough to step outside of the tobacco control party line and take a pragmatic view of tobacco harm reduction in order to achieve the potentially massive public health gains on offer via vaping.”

Did you use vaping to quit smoking? Do you believe it worked? Can you see circumstances when you might return to smoking?


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker