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Study: Vaping Can Save 6.6 Million Lives


Policies need to encourage smokers to switch to vaping, say the authors

Vaping could save millions of lives, if smokers switched from smoking cigarettes to e-cigarettes. That’s what the authors of a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control say.

The authors used complex computer models to account for many risks and benefits. The study projects lives saved with various modeled levels of uptake, cessation, and potential harms of vaping products used to replace combustible tobacco. It addresses tobacco control concerns, considering scenarios in which there is vaping uptake by non-nicotine users, and even where e-cigarettes present much higher levels of harm than are currently expected.

The most optimistic projection in the study shows 6.6 million smokers could avoid premature death if 10 percent of the smoking population quits over each of the next 10 years, living a combined 86.7 million more years. Even the most pessimistic model shows that 1.6 million people could avoid early death over the same period.

“Old policies need to be supplemented with policies that encourage substituting e-cigarettes for the far more deadly cigarettes,” lead author David Levy told Reuters.

Levy is a professor of oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. The study is similar to another Levy-led study we reported on last year. The co-authors on the current research include David Abrams, Raymond Niaura, and Ron Borland.

Because of the prestige of the authors, and the fact that it is published in a resolutely anti-vaping journal, the study has received considerable positive coverage in the press. Ideally, studies like this one will force activist anti-nicotine groups to justify their positions.

The authors take a jab at the prohibitionist wing of public health, noting that “the tobacco control community has had divided approaches to e-cigarettes, and in the process may have lost focus on cigarettes, the most deadly form of nicotine delivery.” Of course, this is what vaping advocates have been saying for years.

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