Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos writes: “More than six million smokers in the European Union have quit smoking and more than 9 million have reduced smoking consumption with the use of electronic cigarettes.”
His pronouncement comes as his new study publishes its findings in Addiction, a journal for professionals. “Electronic cigarette use in the European Union: analysis of a representative sample of 27,480 Europeans from 28 countries” was carried out by a team led by Farsalinos at the University of Patras-Greece, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre-Greece and the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research. It announces: “35.1% have quit smoking while an additional 32.2% have reduced smoking consumption.”
“These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study," said Farsalinos. "The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1. High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2. Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers.”
A research team at the Department of Epidemiology and the Centre for Social Epidemiology and Population Health at the School of Public Health in Michigan carried out a similar exercise in data mining.
“This paper is important because it gives us a reference for what could be the net impact of e-cigarette use on smoking prevalence, and for the most part, with the status quo, the key point is what they do for cessation," said Sarah Cherng, the lead author. "Our research is not going to silence the debate, but perhaps the discussion can be shifted to how we can think about the best policies and regulations to make e-cigarettes useful as smoking cessation tools.”
Their work indicates that vaping would lead to a 20% increase in smoking cessation rates resulting in a 6% decrease in smoking rates by 2060. They compare the substantial step forward this represents by pointing out that people would need to increase taking up smoking by 200% in order to bring about a 6% rise in smoking rates over the same timeframe.
The Michigan study is presented in a much flatter manner than the one from Farsalinos, reflecting the toxic climate surrounding the ecig debate in the United States. That said, both contribute to the argument that vaping works to help smokers quit.