E-Cigarette Users Are More Likely to End Traditional Smoking, Study Claims : Health : Tech Times

A recent study suggests that individuals who switch from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are more inclined to end smoking combustible cigarettes, as reported by the Oxford University Press.

A man smokes an electronic cigarette inside a vape shop in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2019.
(Photo : ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images)

Can E-Cigarettes Aid in Ending Traditional Smoking?

The emergence of electronic nicotine delivery systems in the U.S. market dates back to 2007, initially characterized by e-cigarettes resembling conventional cigarettes and employing fixed low-voltage batteries. 

However, a significant shift occurred in 2016 with the introduction of e-liquids containing nicotine salt formulations, which became widely available. 

Unlike traditional freebase formulations, nicotine salts boast lower pH levels, allowing for increased nicotine concentration without the associated harshness and bitterness, according to researchers.

Prior population-level research yielded conflicting conclusions regarding the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid. While some studies suggested favorable outcomes in terms of quitting smoking with e-cigarette use, others reported contrasting results. 

To address these inconsistencies, researchers analyzed real-world trends in population-level cigarette discontinuation rates spanning from 2013 to 2021.

Read Also: US Authorities Seize $18 Million Worth of Illegal E-Cigarettes, Including Popular Elf Bar Brand

Cigarette Discontinuation Rates

Utilizing data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a national longitudinal study encompassing diverse U.S. adults, the study compared cigarette discontinuation rates between individuals who smoked combustible cigarettes and used e-cigarettes versus those who smoked combustible cigarettes exclusively.

Between 2013 and 2016, cigarette discontinuation rates among U.S. adults remained statistically similar regardless of e-cigarette use, with both groups exhibiting comparable rates of approximately 15%. However, notable disparities emerged in subsequent years. 

From 2018 to 2021, the study observed a significant increase in cigarette cessation among smokers who used e-cigarettes, with approximately 30.9% quitting combustible cigarettes compared to only 20% among non-e-cigarette users.

The study attributes these shifting trends to several factors, including the expansion of the e-cigarette marketplace and the introduction of salt-based nicotine formulations in 2016, which gradually gained market share. 

Moreover, advancements in vaping technology led to the availability of e-cigarettes with higher nicotine yields over time. Concurrently, governmental regulations at both state and federal levels imposed restrictions on tobacco products, including the implementation of a higher tobacco-purchase age and bans on flavored e-cigarettes.

“Our findings here suggest that the times have changed when it comes to vaping and smoking cessation for adults in the US,” said tudy first author, Karin Kasza, an assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY.

“While our study doesn’t give the answers as to why vaping is associated with cigarette quitting in the population today when it wasn’t associated with quitting years ago, design changes leading to e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine more effectively should be investigated. This work underscores the importance of using the most recent data to inform public health decisions.”

The study’s findings were published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Related Article: Nicotine-Free Vapes Raise Concerns; Tests Reveal They’re as Addictive as Full-Strength E-Cigarettes

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