What They Don’t Want You To Know About The Benefits Of Vaping
A recent report uncovers a few key ways why vaping is such an effective smoking cessation tool
Given everything we’ve done as a society to curb smoking, some people are surprised when they learn that tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the globe. That’s not to say we haven’t made any progress, as smoking rates have been on the decline for a few decades now, and they’re reaching all-time lows in many places. That being said, there has been a notable dip in the rate of people who find traditional nicotine replacement therapies useful. The leading theory says most of the remaining smokers have already tried nicotine patches, gum, and prescriptions to no avail.
As such, health experts have been on the lookout for new and practical tools to help people end their dependence on tobacco. One of the most promising of any of these new tools is none other than vaping. While we still require plenty of peer-reviewed research before we can say anything for sure, we now have another piece of the puzzle. A study published earlier this year in the Harm Reduction Journal concluded that vaping is an incredibly useful option for smoking cessation. Going a step further, the team also believes they uncovered what it is that makes vaping so effective.
The Latest Research
The team was led by Dr. Caitlin Notley out of the University of East Anglia. She and her team from the school’s Norwich Medical School conducted the study to uncover the role that e-cigarettes play in fighting the smoking epidemic. One of the driving factors of the study was clearing up some of the common misconceptions and debates that dominate the conversation. This included questions about both short and long-term success with vaporizers. A group of 40 vapers was given in-depth questions aimed at understanding precisely why they made their decisions. This type of research, also known as qualitative, focuses on smaller groups, but with much more detailed information gathered.
When they got down to analyzing the evidence, some critical patterns and connections began to appear. Likely the most obvious, but still significant, question answered was that the value of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools is directly related to their similarities to smoking. They believe since vaping and smoking share many of the same social and psychological cues, it offers smokers a lot more satisfaction than simple nicotine delivered in a patch. Another interesting finding of the report is that almost 20% of participants reported switching to vaping without making a conscious decision to quit smoking. Instead, these participants simply preferred vaping to smoking and made the switch without putting much thought into it.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
This type of research is exactly what we need to fill in the gaps in other reports. We already know that vaping is a lot safer than smoking, at least 95% safer according to Public Health England. Not to mention the fact vapers have around a 57,000 times lower chance of developing cancer compared with demographically similar smokers. This new research also makes the point that some vapers find vaping enjoyable outside of the smoking cessation and harm reduction benefits. This is backed up by a study published last year about the efficacy of different smoking cessation tools. After testing all the most common methods, they concluded vaping was the hands down winner.
What Dr. Notley and her team want people to take away from their research is that vaping is a powerful tool in the fight against tobacco, precisely because it provides most of the same cues, without most of the inherent risk. They aren’t the first to present this case, as the British Psychological Society updated their policies last year to reflect a very similar case for the value vaping provides. Smoking rates are much higher among mental health patients, but quitting smoking can often be dangerous for someone already dealing with daily struggles. As such, they fully support vaping as a method of getting patients off tobacco, without causing too much extra stress. Research and policy updates like these are proof positive we’re moving in the right direction.
We need more research like this if we’re ever going to improve the public perception of vaping. Large-scale studies are critical to provide us with broad strokes of information, but they will always be lacking in proper context. In this way, qualitative research helps round out the data collected in large-scale studies. In fact, this study helps give the other harm reduction and smoking cessation benefits larger importance. We’re still far off from where we need to be, but the more research, the better. Putting a stop to smoking once and for all is one of the most important things we can do for the public’s health, and vaping is proving to be one of the most crucial tools in that fight. If we can maximize the psychological cues shared between vaping and smoking, we can hopefully make e-cigarettes even better at helping people quit.
Do we need more qualitative research like this? What do you think makes vaping such a useful smoking cessation tool? How do you think we should work to maximize the cues shared between vaping and 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.