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Daily vaping increases quit rates even in heavy smokers who had no intention of quitting


Study finds what we've known for so long: Even smokers who don't plan to quit are much more likely to quit if they vape every day.

The findings strengthen the case for nicotine vaping products as a harm-reducing alternative to smoking.

Lots of smokers start vaping with no intention of quitting smoking, however they quit in the process. This fact is so common, that the vaping community has named it vapers “by chance” or ex-smokers “by chance”.

The smokers who don’t intend to quit, might start vaping for various reasons. They try it by curiosity or as an alternative for a place where smoking is not allowed, or they could buy a vaping device impulsively. The thing we know is, regardless o the reason they try vaping, many of them find that they prefer it to smoking, or at least that vaping is such a good substitute that they decide to replace smoking altogether.

Some smokers said that, although they didn’t plan quitting smoking, they did after starting vaping electronic cigarettes, according to an American government survey.

For the first time ever, a study recognized the experience of the “random” smoking cessation. “The Association of E-Cigarette Use with Smoking Cessation Among Adult Smokers Who Initially Never Planned to Quit” I the title of a study which was published yesterday in the magazine of American Medical Association JAMA Network Open. The study was authored by a team of researchers led by Dr. Karin A. Kasza, a researcher in the Department of Health Behavior at the Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

The authors found that, when the smokers vape every day, the chances of them quitting smoking increase dramatically – even if they didn’t intend to quit before they tried vaping. The researchers located 1600 persons who smoked cigarettes, in the beginning of the survey, didn’t vape, and didn’t intend to or want to quit smoking. Among this group, 28% of those who started vaping daily, quit smoking. Among those who did not vape at all, only 5.8% quit smoking.

“Most studies focus exclusively on people who are trying to quit smoking, but this study shows that we may be missing out on some of the potential of e-cigarettes if we don't consider this group of smokers who have no intention of quitting - a group with higher health risk by smoking.”, said Dr, Andrew Hyland, Chair of Health Behavior at Roswell Park and one of the study's authors.

The study used data from the Population Assessment Study on Tobacco and Health (PATH), which was collected between 2014 and 2019. PATH is a longitudinal American National study of smokers and users of nicotine products, which is conducted by both FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The study “Roswell Park” was funded by grants of CTP and NIDA.

Besides the fact that it is much more likely to quit smoking altogether, smokers who used to vape daily, they were also four times more likely to reduce daily smoking (45.5%) than those who did not smoke (9.9%) or smoked less frequently (10.2%).

The authors believe that the ex-smokers “by chance” who have quit smoking are a rather large group, and their role should matter to regulators like the FDA. “Our findings show that these smokers should be taken into consideration, especially during the risk-benefit assessment of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation in the general population.” the authors note in their study.

Clinical trials have shown hat vaping is superior to nicotine replacement therapies, for those smokers who wish to quit. But the smokers represented in the Roswell Park study are a much more difficult group, because they do not intend or want to quit.

“We found evidence that the use of electronic cigarettes might have a positive impact on this very hard-to-reach group of unruly smokers.” says Dr. Hyland. “In order to really understand the impact of vaping on the population health in the USA, we should take into consideration the smokers who don’t intend to quit.”

No one should be surprised by the fact that vaping, with the big variety of choices among devices and flavors, and the resemblance to the act of smoking, is the best way to approach the heaviest smokers.

Unfortunately, at the same time, smokers get “bombed” by lots of articles that misinform and sow doubt about vaping, and legislation restrict access to products and make them economically inaccessible. How many smokers would be interested, if the public health organizations recommended vaping and shared honest estimates of harm compared to smoking?

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