Big News! We Now Know The Secret To What Makes Vaping Powerful


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.

The Study

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.

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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4 Responses

  1. Terence Lake Walker says:


    After smoking strong, unfiltered cigarettes for 69 years, I traded vaping for smoking 6 years ago & wrote my first paper on the subject entitled “Smoking and the use of the Electronic Cigarette.” One of first things I did was to attempt to identify the various elements responsible for the pleasure I enjoyed when smoking. This is the list;
    1/ the aroma when first opening a new pack. 2/ the act of handling and holding the cigarette 3/ the taste of the smoke when it is inhaled. 4/ the nicotine “hit” felt by the throat 5/ the aftertaste which lingers for quite some time. 6/ the oral satisfaction of a cigarette between the lips. 7/ the most enjoyable smoke being at the conclusion of a good meal.
    Recently I have reconsidered this list and feel that the various elements should have been weighted according to their importance in delivering pleasure. These “pleasure factors” can be divided into three parts. RITUAL, NICOTINE and TASTE
    RITUAL. I calculate that during my 69 years of my smoking life I had repeated the ritual habit of handling cigarettes on about a quarter of a million occasions and wondered what effect that experience would have had on the psyche? How deeply engrained have these movements become? Perhaps a behavioural analyst could shed light on this aspect. Turning to item 6, could this be a throw-back to babyhood?, when we derived much comfort from the use of a dummy, or pacifier? The ritual aspect is not merely the hand to mouth action but the whole rigmarole of smoking, involving the purchase of cigarettes, means of ignition, smoking at various times of the day, viz, almost mandatory with a drink, ensuring one does not run out and always having a supply on your person at all times. These considerations become very important in a smokers everyday living.
    NICOTINE. Whilst an E-cigarette adequately deals with elements 2-7, the general feeling is that item 4 is overarching in importance, due to its addictive nature. During the 70s & 80s, Public Health and Anti-smoking lobbies bound nicotine addiction and cigarettes tightly together to hammer home the message of the harm caused by smoking. This association may blur the potential for “cleaner” nicotine products which lure smokers away from cigarettes. Some studies show nicotine, like caffeine to have a positive effect as a stimulant and relaxant, which raises the heart rate, increasing the sensory information processing, easing tension and sharpening the brain.
    Early on I found that a concentration of 18 mg/l N satisfied my smoking habit and used this strength consistently over the next five years of vaping. More recently I have been reviewing my thoughts on the smoking habit and questioning the importance of nicotine and its addictive nature. This led me to carry out an experiment in which I ordered cartomers of various nicotine concentrations. On arrival I used one of each strength (Viz. 18 mg N), 12mg N, 6mg N. & 0mg N), for about 20 puffs each during the same day.
    Surprisingly, they all gave satisfaction but with a tiny question mark hanging over 0mg N. That led me to deduce that the addictive nature of nicotine has been highly exaggerated as the prime reason for long term smoking and should be described more as dependency rather than addiction.

    Items 3 & 5 are all about taste, which the Oxford Dictionary tells us, is “the sensation of flavour perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance”. I believe this to be an extremely important sense. Whatever we choose to put into our bodies, via the mouth, must pass the “taste test” in order to give the most pleasure. Ask yourself why you drink a particular brand of coffee, type of wine, cheese or jam? In fact any consumer product. We all have individual preferences which have been chosen following experimentation, and smoking is no different.
    CONCLUSIONS. The above thoughts lead me to believe that the taste and ritual elements are more important, than any addictive nicotine considerations. When smoking is broken down into these elements it becomes much easier to understand why vaping is such a much more effective method of stopping smoking than the use of nicotine patches/sprays etc. Whilst the latter supply the body with nicotine, they do so at a much slower speed and fail to replicate the whole smoking taste and ritual. The electronic cigarette, unlike a tobacco one, for the first time, allows one to tailor the nicotine content to one’s precise requirement. A vaper does not feel that they have irrevocably given up smoking but merely exchanged one cigarette for a much safer alternative.
    Which leads me to question if Nicotine is the driving force behind smoking? And my answer would be NO.
    I fully believe that TASTE is by far the most important factor followed by RITUAL with NICOTINE being placed third.
    In algebraic form; Smoking Pleasure = xT +yR + zN (where x,y,&z are constants, whose sum = 1) & T=-taste, R =ritual, N =nicotine
    I have not included my own values for the constants as I did not wish to influence thoughts of readers
    I welcome feedback on this hypothesis and it would be helpful if vapers, and other interested parties send me their ideas on the values they would attribute to the constants in the above equation.
    I believe this could prove an interesting exercise, the results of which, given sufficient support, could be reported back in the New Nicotine Alliance regular e-mail.
    I am more recently told that my hypothesis is in agreement with a recent paper by British Psychological Society in their paper

    Terry Walker 21/1/2018 ([email protected])

  2. Kathy says:

    I was a smoker (20-30 cigarettes per day) for 30 years. None of the old smoking cessation tools worked for me. On January 5th of this year, I bought a Juul. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since. For me, vaping satisfies that hand to mouth need. Without it, I would eat- causing a new health issue. Then I’d inevitably go back to smoking. So now I was a fatter smoker. Get the cycle? Since I’ve been vaping- the hand to mouth is satisfied, I’m vaping much lower nicotine than I got in cigarettes, and I’ve lost weight. When I feel munchies come on, vaping on a yummy desert flavor curbs that urge. Please work on more studies like this. Please work on the ding dongs in the USA that are making flavors illegal- or vaping in general illegal. Vaping is saving my life in more ways than one!

  3. Vista Vapors Inc says:

    An interesting study, I am happy to hear that the positive vibes around vaping are one of the reasons that it is so effective! It shows the importance of community!

  4. Linda Erickson says:

    I was a smoker for 50 years. I smoked a large pack a day, sometimes more. I have tried all smoking cessation tools available, including cold turkey. Nothing worked. I lied to myself and others about my quit attempts. I snuck cigarettes, telling everyone, I had quit! I was ashamed of myself, but the urge to smoke was overpowering!
    Then it happened. My sister got cancer, attributed to smoking. She passed, a very painful death, unable to breath. I was frantically searching, on the internet, for something to help her, during her struggle. I came across ecigs, but it was too late to help her. She passed away September 19, 2010. I started vaping October1, 2010. I also had a brush with death, in the same year. I had to have a stent in one of the major arteries of my heart, and the cardiologist said it was more than likely attributed to years of smoking.
    I have been happily vaping since, and attribute my health to my new found solution, of that horrific monkey on my back!

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