The study shows several different causes for the effectiveness of vaping as a smoking cessation tool
Globally smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths and diseases. Over the last thirty years or so the fight against tobacco has made huge steps toward curving those statistics. With a consistent drop in smoking rates around the world, these results have been astonishingly positive. In recent years it seems that things have hit a bit of a plateau though, with traditional methods of quitting becoming less and less useful for most smokers.
It’s because of this slowing of the decline that so many health experts are enthralled by vaping and its role as a smoking cessation tool, and it’s amazing results. The Harm Reduction Journal recently published new research which says “vaping is a viable long-term substitute for smoking, with substantial implications for tobacco harm reduction.” More importantly, this research finally nails down why vaping has proven to be such a powerful smoking cessation tool.
Dr. Caitlin Notley and her team of researchers out of the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in the UK wanted to understand better vaping, and it’s role in the fight against tobacco. They were also interested in trying to find some clarity on the disputed questions like how vaping assists quitting attempts as well as how vaping functions as a long-term cessation solution. They did this by conducting qualitative and in depth interviews with a smaller sample size of vapers. By doing this style of research with a smaller group of 40 vapers, they were able to focus on a full understanding of each participant’s relationship with vaping, instead of a large group with mostly basic information.
After the data was gathered, it was analyzed for critical and thematic similarities, and some fairly substantial, and significant, patterns were found. One of the major emerging themes was that vaping is in part a success as a smoking cessation tool because of its similarities with smoking. Dr. Notley explains that vaping shares cultural and psychological cues with smoking and that creates more familiar satisfaction for smokers. The study also found that almost 20% of the participants didn’t consciously choose to quit smoking, it happened organically in conjunction with their vaping.
A Clear Picture
This qualitative approach to research is helping to add color to many of the things we already know about vaping and e-cigarette use. It is once again making it harder to deny that fact vaping is substantially safer than smoking. PHE the federal health agency for England famously published that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Then last year the Journal of Aerosol Science published a study that the lifetime cancer risk for a lifetime vaper is around 57,000 times lower than that of a smoker.
This study by Notley and co. makes clear that the authors view vaping as a useful cessation tool, even indicating that some of these smokers turned vapers find pleasure in the act of vaping independently from its relationship to their quitting smoking. This supports a study out of the University of Louisville that tested the success and effectiveness of various smoking cessation methods. Studying everything from cold turkey methods to prescription drugs, they found vaping to be the most effective cessation tool.
The authors of this study make apparent that the most critical finding is that vapes are effective due in large part to cultural, physical, and psychological cues. BPS or the British Psychological Society took the same stance when they updated their official policy to say that vaping’s satisfaction may in part come from having a comparable process to smoking. All of these factors show that scientists are honing in on what the value of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool so that it can be maximized.
Qualitative research like this always adds new depth to the topic it researches, and it is lovely to see it in conjunction with so many larger scale studies. While the large-scale surveys give us more accurate numbers on what percentage of the population are doing what, these smaller scale, but truly in-depth, interviews offer a more in-depth look into why they are doing what they do. It is when the two work in conjunction that real clarity can be brought to a situation.
What this research supports is that if we want to end smoking, we have to take advantage of the tools we have available, and the most successful and useful tool we have now is vaping. Dr. Notley and her team, along with the team at BPS support that one of the integral parts of e-cigarettes that make them effective as a tool is the physical, psychological, and social cues it harnesses. By honing in on this information and maximizing it, we could one day see a world without tobacco smoke and the countless deaths and diseases it causes.
Should we be conducting more qualitative style studies on vaping? What makes e-cigarettes most valuable to you? How can we further harness the similarities vaping shares with smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.
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