E-cigarettes and other vaping devices were designed to help smokers of conventional tobacco cigarettes quit smoking. But do they?
According to a new government-sponsored study, the answer is not really.
There is no evidence that smokers who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices are more likely to quit smoking conventional cigarettes than smokers who don’t use e-cigarettes, according to researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products.
Looking at data from 2015 and 2016, the researchers found that 90 percent of people who used both e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco cigarettes (dual users) were still smoking one year later.
While 88 percent of dual users reported that quitting smoking was an “important reason” for using e-cigarettes, and roughly half said that they tried to “completely quit” smoking during the one-year study, just nine percent of them quit, the study found.
More than half of the study’s subjects continued to smoke both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes after one year, and more than 37 percent continued to smoke tobacco but quit using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
While the study’s authors found that e-cigarette users were more likely to try to quit smoking than those who did not use them, this did not translate to greater success with quitting smoking compared to smokers who did not use e-cigarettes.
Extrapolating the findings to e-cigarette usage after 2016 and noting that there have been no meaningful changes in how electronic vaping devices are used by adult smokers, the study’s researchers said that e-cigarettes “are unlikely to significantly increase quit rates in the U.S. population.”
E-cigarette sales continue to surge in the U.S. The latest complete figures show the demand for the devices rocketed up 132 percent from 2012 to 2016. While the e-cigarette industry would love to have you believe these numbers indicate more and more ex-smokers in the making, this latest study supports previous findings that e-cigarettes are actually creating new generations of young nicotine addicts.
According to Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California, “a new USC study debunks the popular belief that electronic cigarettes are merely a substitute for cigarettes. Instead, the study suggests that some teens who never would have smoked cigarettes are now vaping.”