New Evidence Shows Smokers Use Vaping to Quit Cigarettes

The new research backs up this year’s study from the University of California

Once again, data show that smokers who use e-cigarettes are more likely than other smokers to try quitting combustible cigarettes.

The new research comes from data gathered in a survey done by the state of Tennessee, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey asked questions of smokers in Tennessee.

Although they appear to have not yet been published, the results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). It was conducted by researchers working for the Tennessee Department of Health.

The researchers say that smokers who vape are 3.5 times more likely to have tried quitting in the last 12 months than the non-vaping smokers. Their conclusion may seem dull, but it’s not typical of such research: “This analysis provides evidence that current Tennessee adult smokers may be using e-cigarettes as a cessation aid to quit smoking.”

The results agree with other research, including a landmark study earlier this year from scientists at the University of California-San Diego. That study also found that smokers who also vaped tried to quit smoking more often. It also showed that almost twice as many smokers were able to quit if they also vaped.

Tennessee Department of Health epidemiologist Ransom Wyse, one of the three investigators involved in the research, said the results were unexpected. “There’s evidence here that Tennessee smokers are using e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking,” he told Medscape. “This is the first time we’ve seen this.”

Wyse said he was certain that the results could be applied to smokers across the country, but “in the past, Tennessee has compared a weighted sample of our respondents to national statistics and we’ve seen that it’s a high-percent agreement.” As in the California study — which did look at smokers nationally — the survey didn’t specifically ask smokers if they were vaping in order to intentionally quit cigarettes.

“If the FDA truly believes this is a not-so-harmful alternative, it would be very effective if they could say you should use e-cigarettes as a cessation aid,” he said.

Other attendees at the APHA conference found the results interesting. “A lot of the evidence we have is slightly at odds with the American experience,” said Shirley Cramer of the Royal Society for Public Health in the U.K. “For us, it’s been very clear that e-cigarettes are a very useful tool if you’re trying to stop smoking.”

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