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Sick Smokers More Likely To Switch To Vaping

Research says smokers suffering from chronic conditions are more likely to make the switch.

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The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is set to carry a report stating that smokers suffering from chronic conditions, such as COPD or cardiovascular disease, are more likely to switch to vaping, as they believe it is safer than continuing to smoke. Lead investigator Gina Kruse, assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, says vaping is less harmful than combustible cigarettes and a way to reduce the risks posed by traditional smoking.

Sixteen million Americans face smoking-related dideases each year but continue to smoke. Looking at 36,697 adults in 2014 and 33,672 adults in 2015, Kruse prefaced her press release with mention of teenage use and concerns about the long-term effects, but produced some key findings:

  • There is a growing consensus that their use can possibly help people quit combustible cigarettes and curb tobacco-related risks.
  • Switching to e-cigarettes might have greater positive impact for current smokers with health problems.
  • Doctors should consider all pathways, including electronic-cigarettes, to help patients quit traditional combustible tobacco smoking.

Kruse said: “This large sample provides the first national estimates of the prevalence of e-cigarette use among U.S. adults with medical comorbidities. Current smokers with medical comorbidities use e-cigarettes at higher rates than smokers without medical comorbidities. Very few never smokers with medical comorbidities have ever used e-cigarettes, except in the youngest age groups.”

“Smokers with asthma, COPD, or cardiovascular disease probably use e-cigarettes for the same reasons as other adults: to quit cigarettes, reduce cigarette consumption, or reduce the harms from smoking. Smokers with these chronic diseases may feel an urgent need to quit or reduce combustible cigarette use and may be willing to try new products. Conversely, among adults with cancer, the low prevalence of e-cigarette use may be because even a reduced harm product is seen as too late to help them.”

“E-cigarette use by current and former smokers with medical comorbidities is substantial, especially among individuals with chronic lung or cardiovascular disease. Clinicians should routinely ask these patients about e-cigarette use, assessing potential risks and benefits in terms of reducing or quitting combustible cigarette use. Clinicians should also actively consider all pathways to help their patients quit combustible cigarettes and recommend evidence-based treatments.”

The report is titled “Use of Electronic Cigarettes Among U.S. Adults With Medical Comorbidities,” by Gina R. Kruse MD, MPH, Sara Kalkhoran, MD, MAS, Nancy A. Rigotti, MD ( It will be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, volume 52, issue 6 (June 2017), by Elsevier. 

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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