Research from the American Heart Association reveals that electronic cigarettes are the most popular method among smokers for quitting cigarettes.
The data, recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 conference, shows that vapers tend to be either current smokers attempting to ditch combustible tobacco or former smokers maintaining their abstinence from cigarettes. The researchers also found that during their last three months of quitting, former smokers are 23 times more likely to rely on a vaping device, reports Vaping Post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released similar data in April showing that vaping is more widely used by smokers trying to quit than the typical patches or gum. Roughly 35 percent of smokers substitute some of their cigarettes with a vape, while 24.7 percent transitioned completely to electronic cigarettes. Only one-quarter of smokers tried quitting with nicotine patches and gum.
Despite the positive data showing that vaping is helping smokers ditch cigarettes at a historic rate, the American Heart Association continues to warn smokers against using vaping devices to quit smoking, claiming there is not enough research to determine if the products are safe for users.
Public health experts say vaping largely eliminates the harms from conventional cigarettes because 95 percent of the carcinogens that cause tobacco-related illnesses are released through combustion. E-cigarettes simply heat liquid nicotine, creating an aerosol vapor.
A study released Oct. 2 by the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center found that if vaping were to largely replace smoking, roughly 6.6. million smokers would avoid premature death and collectively add 86.7 million extra years to their lives.
There are currently 7.8 million active vapers in the U.S., down from 8.91 million in 2014. The number of former smokers who use an e-cigarette rose from 2.49 million to 2.62 million Americans, which accounts for 34 percent of the current vaping population, according to a paper released Sept. 28 by the free-market think tank R Street Institute.
“87 percent of former smokers currently using e-cigarettes quit in the last five years, suggesting that e-cigarettes played a significant role,” Brad Rodu, an associate fellow with the R Street Institute, wrote in the paper. “Health advocates should applaud these former smokers’ choice of e-cigarettes over far more dangerous cigarettes.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledged for the first time in July the utility of e-cigarettes for quitting and is now encouraging the development of alternative smoking technologies. Researchers focused on harm reduction say efforts to misrepresent the health impacts of vaping risks undoing the progress made on improving public health and reducing the smoking rate.
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