Vaping products may not be legally defined as a smoking cessation product, but many smokers who want to quit are choosing vaping in addition to or instead of other smoking cessation products. This is the finding of research conducted in London, which also found that the use of vaping products might raise a smoker’s chances of successfully kicking the tobacco cigarette habit for good.
According to a study done by researchers at London’s University College, nearly 900,000 smokers in England tried to quit in 2014 by using vaping products rather than prescription drugs or behavioral therapy. Of the nearly 8.5 million smokers in that country, about 37 percent of them tried to quit, with more than a quarter of those using vaping devices. The study, which was published in the Addiction journal of the National Addiction Centre, also found that the use of vaping devices to help quit smoking raises the rate of long-term success from about 5 percent to 7.5 percent.
Professor Robert West, who led the research team, stated that these numbers are significant. “E-cigarettes appear to be helping a significant number of smokers to stop who would not have done otherwise” West said. He also criticized those in public health who warn against vaping being a “gateway” to smoking or actually making it harder to quit smoking. “These claims stem from a misunderstanding of what the evidence can tell us at this stage,“ he stated, while adding, “but this is clearly something we need to watch carefully.”
Professor Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, expressed hope that research of this type might encourage smoking cessation services to being including vaping devices as part of their tools to quit smoking. He noted that there has been a decline in interest for smoking cessation services and related this to the services’ failure to offer vaping alternatives. “This is unfortunate,” he said, “as it is likely that even more smokers would switch to vaping successfully if e-cigarettes were combined with behavioral support that the services provide.”
While findings like these in London are encouraging, there is still much prejudice against e-cigarettes and vaping, as the public health officials mentioned by Professor West show us. The problem could be even worse in the United States. Professors West and Hajek seem clearly by their statements to be interested in smoking cessation products that actually work, and we can only hope for more unprejudiced research such as this to counter the junk science that is often conducted to serve the anti-vaping agenda.