Super Modelling

Posted 25th August 2020 by Dave Cross
A research paper published by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco asks if vaping is a “magic bullet” for tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. Despite not being “the” answer, the authors conclude that vaping is “highly likely to reduce smoking-produced mortality”.

Authors Kenneth Warner and David Mendez both ply their trade at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Doctor Warner is the Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Public Health, Professor Emeritus of Health Management & Policy, and Dean Emeritus of Public Health at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. David Mendez is an Associate Professor.

The pair state that vaping is a “highly controversial” subject. “To supporters,” they write, “e-cigarettes hold the potential to substantially reduce the toll of smoking. They believe that e-cigarettes pose only a small fraction of smoking’s risks, that vaping helps adult smokers to quit smoking, and that it may even assist some youth to avoid or to quit smoking.”

Recognising the polarised nature of the current debate, they refer to those who do not hold these opinions as being “opponents”, framing arguments as a two competing sides. Frequently referred to by advocates as antz, the pair say these people believe vaping threatens “to expand nicotine addiction and renormalise smoking, especially among youth. Opponents note that nicotine can harm young people’s developing brains and worry that vaping’s health risk substantially exceeds the relatively minor risk touted by supporters. Many opponents do not believe that vaping aids smokers in quitting.”

What Warner and Mendez don’t say is that while harm reduction advocates welcome all balanced, fair research, antz frequently ignore or find a way to attack the credibility of any work that doesn’t accord with their world view.

It will be interesting to see what they make of this paper, especially given that the following line states: “Do e-cigarettes help adult smokers to quit smoking? Recent evidence suggests they do.”


The study concludes: “If vaping increases smoking cessation, vaping is highly likely to produce net [years of life] gains through the end of the century, reducing smoking’s toll by as much as a fifth … including a 200% vaping-produced increase in smoking cessation and little to no vaping-related health risk.”

Whom vaping most helps to quit smoking matters as well. The impact of vaping is greatest if vaping most helps those who otherwise have the greatest difficulty quitting smoking,” they continued.

Overall, our findings suggest that e-cigarettes represent a meaningful if thus far modest public health contribution and could represent a more substantial one.”

This follows a study that Warner and Mendez conducted in 2018, which estimated: “nearly 3.3 million life-years could be saved by the year 2070.”

But then the antz aren’t that bothered about saving lives.

88 Vape


  • A magic bullet? The potential impact of e-cigarettes on the toll of cigarette smoking” by Mendez and Warner – [link]
  • Kenneth Warner biography – [link]
  • David Mendez profile – [link]
  • Vaping’s potential to benefit public health exceeds its risks”, 2018 – [link]

Image by Ulf Åkesson from Pixabay 

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Legion of Vapers