Vaping Continues To Prove It’s An Invaluable Smoking Cessation Tool

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Jimmy Hafrey

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A new report indicates vaping recently became more popular among the troops than smoking

The debate over vaping has been going for over a decade now, but in the last few years, things have gotten particularly contentious. Those against vaping firmly believe accepting e-cigarettes for their harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits could increase the number of smokers, despite any evidence supporting these claims. Supporters of e-cigarettes instead focus on the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence which suggests vaping has a ton to offer smokers. This battle is far from won, but things are looking up as more institutions get on board with vapes over smoking. In fact, a recent report found that vaping has become more popular among US troops than traditional smoking.

The frequency of this battle is somewhat understandable given the relative lack of time vaporizers have been around. But at this point, we have plenty of reason to believe switching to e-cigarettes is much better than continued smoking. If we want to secure our vaping rights, more evidence must be published along with reports like these which prove vaping is doing wonders in the fight against tobacco. Regardless, it’s great to see such a large and respected community collectively make the switch from smoking to vaping.

Report On Military Vaping

The report was meant to analyze and track different health-related behaviors. Called the Defense Department Health-Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Service Members, the report came to several significant conclusions about how vaping is affecting the number of smokers in the military. For starters, the percent of service members who smoked regularly was found to be just 7.4%, compared with nearly 13% in the general population. At the same time, the number of occasional smokers has dropped from 24% to just 13.9% since 2011. It’s clear that smoking has been on the sharp decline among service members, but some are giving most of the credit to e-cigarettes, and the report has data which backs this up.

Taking a look at the general population of service members, just over 11% say they vape on a regular basis, while 12.4% said they had vaped at least once in the last month. The rate was even higher among junior service members, with nearly 20% being vapers. This trend stayed mostly consistent between different branches of the military, with Marines having the highest rate of vapers at 16.1% and Coast Guardsmen coming in last at 9.3%. Vaping has proven extremely popular among service members, with reports finding a five-fold increase in vapers between 2011 and 2015. The impact has been so substantial that some experts are now applauding the role of vaporizers played in dropping the smoking rate to historic lows.

Why Vaping Is Important

While some are worried about the increase in vaping among service members, the peer-reviewed evidence we have should put them at ease. We got our first large scale report back in 2015 which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. That report, conducted by Public Health England, was only the first, with the last several years filled with positive data. In fact, at the end of last year, we got yet another report finding the toxicants in e-liquid vapor are 93% lower than in tobacco smoke. But to really understand the full extent of the harm reduction value of vaping, you should consider the study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.

But it’s not just harm reduction that vaping offers. We’ve also got plenty of reason to think that vaping is an invaluable smoking cessation tool. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville tested the most common quit aids and found vaping to be the single most likely to work adequately. Evidence like the new military poll only further bolsters the idea that vaping is a great way for smokers to end their dependence on cigarettes once and for all. But for many, the biggest misconception about vaping is that it’s leading non-smoking teens into a life of smoking. Luckily the large scale polls we have on this topic indicate things may be getting exaggerated. In fact, a poll of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping regularly, let alone switching to tobacco.

Implications

It’s great to see more proof of what the research is telling us. The vast majority of peer-reviewed research on vaping finds that not only is it much safer than smoking, but it’s also an extremely useful smoking cessation tool. With results like these, where vaping continues to grow in popularity while smoking plummets, it should be clear to all that vaping is helping our tobacco control efforts, not undermining them. So if we genuinely want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we must convince our legislators to support vaping and not treat it as merely an alternative form of tobacco.

Does it surprise you how popular vaping has become in the military? Do you think this will lead to more change in the general population? How should we be working to spread positive information on vaping to those around us? 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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