Truckers are much more likely to smoke than the general public, could vaping be the key to preventing thousands of premature deaths in the industry?
Truck drivers tend to be much more susceptible to smoking cigarettes than the general public. Therefore, they’re more likely to be negatively affected by smoking during their lifetime. The CDC reports that over half of truck drivers (51%) currently smoke cigarettes; That’s over 30% more than the general population (19%). A recent article from trucking magazine, Fleet Owner, profiled one such driver, a 34-year-old man named Tanner Peavler. He started smoking at a young age, as most smokers do, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that he began to notice the wear and tear. Simple things like getting in and out of his truck were becoming more and more difficult. He knew it was time to quit but had extreme trouble doing so.
Tanner also wanted to quit since he felt like he was turning into a pariah due to how society’s perception of smoking has been rapidly changing over the last 20 years. Becoming more self-conscious about tobacco for several reasons, Peavler decided enough was enough. He finally gave e-cigarettes a try, hoping that they would be the thing that finally got him over the hump. He had heard they were much less dangerous than combustible cigarettes and intrigued by the possibility of vaping in places where smoking has long since been banned. For instance, on many loading docks, there are strict rules against open flames, entirely ruling out traditional cigarettes.
That was three years ago, and now Tanner says that he feels immensely better. His breathing and lungs have shown marked improvement, and several of his doctors have advised him to continue doing what he’s been doing; Though some are less accepting and worry about the nicotine contents effect on his long-term health. But they can all agree that smoking was actively doing damage; Damage that vaping is now helping mitigate.
Tobacco Control is a peer-reviewed journal that doesn’t accept any research from groups receiving funding from tobacco companies or tobacco lobbyists. So when they recently published an article detailing the vast improvements in health and wellbeing of vapers compared to smokers, you know that it’s legitimate. The researchers found that on average vapers will live 5 to 10 years longer than the smokers who didn’t make the switch to vaping.
But essential to this result is committing to making the switch, not just cutting back eventually. Dr. David Levy led the study and cited some significant figures, “Compared with the status quo, replacement of cigarette by e-cigarette use over a 10-year period yields 6.6 million fewer premature deaths with 86.7 million fewer life years lost in the Optimistic Scenario. Under the Pessimistic Scenario, 1.6 million premature deaths are averted with 20.8 million fewer life years lost.” This shows that even if we are wrong, and vaping is not as drastically less dangerous than smoking, the societal benefit of supporting them is still well worth the risk.
If this is true, that the switch to e-cigarettes can lead to 10 or more extra years of life, then it should undoubtedly be a goal for anyone still struggling with smoking. The switch doesn’t have to occur all at once, but it should always be the goal to move entirely to vaping because as long as you smoke at all, the risks are still very high. Some studies even indicate that dual users may be worse off than only smokers.
The price of cigarettes is only continuing to rise every year, many smokers are coping with this reality by smoking more deeply, or burning all the way down to the butt, both activities that increase the damage done by smoke inhalation. This may also be a sign of extremely nicotine addicted individuals, precisely the type who most readily benefit from e-cigarettes. It’s also worth noting that vaping is a lot more cost effective than smoking. E-liquids are relatively cheap to buy, and the equipment is usually reusable. If you choose to purchase large quantities of ingredients, you can mix them yourself for even more significant savings.
Truck drivers are just an example of the many types of people who are at a higher risk for smoking-related disease than the rest of us. It’s vital that we give smokers every possible option for quitting since we know just how detrimental it is for your health. Shortness of breath and hypertension are signs of worse things to come, so if you’re experiencing them, it’s time to give vaping serious consideration. E-cigarettes have proven to be successful at helping those who have had trouble quitting in the past, finally get the job done. And while no one is trying to claim they are entirely harmless, most doctors agree that you’re much better off vaping than smoking.
Ultimately though, the most prominent challenge is convincing your friends and family to give vaping a fair try. This can be somewhat difficult since a majority of the public still doesn’t understand how much safer vaping is than smoking. That’s why it is so important that we work toward educating the masses on the many benefits of e-cigarettes.
Do you know any truck drivers/do they smoke or vape? What do you think the biggest thing holding vaping back is? How can we adequately convince the public that vaping is successful at helping people quit? Let us know what you think in the comments.