Can Vape be Used for Smoking Cessation and Harm Reduction?

by | Apr 15, 2024

The effectiveness of vape (e-cigarette) in assisting smoking cessation has been confirmed in the United States. A recent study published in the authoritative medical journal “Nicotine Tobacco Research” shows that between 2018 and 2021, vape has significantly improved the success rate of quitting smoking among American smokers, and more and more American smokers are successfully quitting smoking with the help of vape.

The study was led by the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. The survey spanned eight years and was nationally representative. Based on the World Health Organization’s official website’s definition of quitting tobacco – Quitting tobacco, researchers divided smokers into two groups according to “whether they use vape to quit smoking” and found that between 2013 and 2016, the two groups successfully quit smoking. There was no difference in rates, but after 2018, the success rate of quitting smoking was significantly higher in the vape group.

Data shows that between 2018 and 2021, the success rate of smokers using vape to quit smoking was 30.9%, while the success rate of smokers who did not use vape was only 20%. “Our study shows that the role of vaping has changed for American smokers who want to quit smoking,” said study first author Karin Kasza, a professor at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Why is the turning point 2018? Karin Kasza believes that first, the number of vape users in the United States has increased significantly since 2018; second, from 2018 to 2021, the public health department has carried out a series of legal regulations on the vape market. In addition, the increasing amount of relevant scientific evidence has also allowed more smokers to voluntarily switch to vapes and consciously use vapes to quit smoking.

In the paper, the author mentioned the latest research results of Cochrane, an authoritative international medical organization. Its paper published in 2024 stated that there is high-certainty evidence that vape can help smokers quit smoking and is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy commonly used in smoking cessation clinics. “Using vape to assist in quitting smoking is more likely to be successful and has no serious adverse effects. We believe this result will not be easily changed.” said Nicola Lindson, head of the Oxford University Tobacco Addiction Group (OxTAG).

According to public data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2020 to 2021, the vape use rate in the United States increased from 3.7% to 4.5%, while the cigarette use rate in the United States dropped from 12.5% to 11.5%. Thanks to the effective role of vape in assisting smoking cessation, the adult smoking rate in the United States (number of cigarette users / total number of people * 100%) has dropped to the lowest point in the past 60 years.

The American medical community’s attitude toward vaping is also changing. “We have seen a lot of authoritative evidence confirming that vape can be used to quit smoking and reduce harm. These contents have brought an opportunity to US public health agencies to re-examine vape, that is, from ‘can vape quit smoking’ to ‘how to make vape more effective’. It’s a great way to help smokers quit,'” said Nancy Rigotti, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Vape has improved the success rate of quitting smoking among American smokers in recent years. This change deserves attention. We should constantly update relevant research to provide the latest data support for public health department decision-making.” The author wrote in the paper.

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