Source: AMERICAN COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND HEALTH
In a multi-national survey of over 19,000 “vapers” (e-cigarette users) in Europe, among whom only 0.5 percent (88) were nonsmokers before starting to vape, complete cigarette cessation was reported by 81 percent, an astounding figure. Among those who had not become smoking-abstinent, cigarette consumption was reduced on average by over 75 percent (from 20 to 4 daily). The mean length of time e-cigs were used was 10 months, and the reasons given for vaping were to reduce both the harm of smoking, and the exposure of family members to second-hand smoke.
This study was led by Dr. Konstantin Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens and colleagues (one of whom is based in the Toxicology Research Institute in Verbania, Italy). The questionnaire was available in 10 languages. At least two native speakers (one of whom was a qualified translator) checked the validity of each translation, based on the original English questionnaire (the three commonest languages in response were English, German and Italian). The average length of smoking history was 20 years, and all had made multiple prior unsuccessful quit attempts before trying e-cigs. A substantial number of vapers reported side-effects (59 percent), but these were all mild, including dry or scratchy throat or mouth. Most reported significant improvements in general health and quality of life (among respondents with prior respiratory ailments, more than one-third reported diminution or disappearance of symptoms or reduction/elimination of medicinal treatments).
The authors’ conclusion summarizes this new evidence aptly:
In conclusion, in this large sample of dedicated EC users, it seems that ECs are used as long-term substitutes to smoking. They can be effective even in subjects who are highly dependent on smoking and are heavy smokers. Mild temporary side-effects and significant benefits are reported by this population. Motivation for using ECs comes from their expected less harmful potential compared to smoking. The results should however be interpreted with caution considering the convenience sample of dedicated users usually participating in such surveys. More interventional and population studies are needed…in order to further evaluate the effects of EC use at a population level.
ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: “This is another brick in what I am certain will soon be a very large wall of data supporting what I have believed obvious for a while: e-cigarettes will provide a major improvement for addicted adult (and teen) smokers seeking an escape from smoking’s grip. The components of e-cigs are insufficiently toxic to render harm unto anyone, ex-smoker, bystander, whoever, while supplying the chemical and behavioral input to allow smokers to quit with more ease than the highly ineffective, FDA-approved products. These data echo what I’ve seen on ACSH’s website for helping smokers find the facts about e-cigs, now ‘liked’ by over 33,000 contributors with stories of how they finally quit. By this year’s end, those ‘public health experts’ who continue to rail against e-cigs and issue dire warnings to smokers not to try them, will seem foolish at best and vilely corrupt at worst. The problem then will be to revoke all the inane bans and restrictions thrown up ‘in the interest of public health’ or ‘to protect our children.’ Protect our cigarette tax receipts is the more honest basis for these, as someday will be known.”