The researchers wanted to understand the effect of incorporating vaping into other smoking cessation programs
There are several sides to the vaping debate. Some people are concerned about the impact of vaping on the youth. Others question whether vaping is actually safer than cigarettes. One issue that has seen a lot less coverage, despite being a significant concern regarding the efficacy of vaping, is whether it can or should to be incorporated into existing smoking cessation programs. Vaping advocates see vaporizers and e-cigarettes as a valuable tool and an excellent supplement to these programs. Anti-vapers argue that vaping will only alter where the harm is coming from, or that using vaporizers and e-cigarettes will ultimately tempt individuals back into smoking.
This is why it’s so critical more studies are published that seek to answer this difficult, and often unanswered, question. Research conducted by a team at Yale University focused on whether vaping, when added to smoking cessation programs, could potentially improve or hurt their rate of success. After going through their data, the team ultimately concluded vaping can be easily incorporated into these programs. Furthermore, they indicated that participants who used vaping throughout the programs had a much higher rate of success.
The New Study
Dr. Stephen Baldassarri led the team of researchers from Yale’s School of Public Health. He’s spent the majority of his career working on tobacco alternatives but has been shifting his focus toward vaping over the last several years. For example, Baldassarri collaborated with the Psychiatric department at Yale to study beta-2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Now he’s ready to speak out in favor of vaping as a valuable harm reduction tool and smoking cessation tool. The Yale study, published late last year, looked into the potential outcomes of incorporating vaping into smoking cessation programs. They hoped to confirm that e-cigarettes supplement efforts to quit smoking. No other highly respected institution has yet done studies on the introduction of e-cigarettes into standard eight-week cessation programs.
The researchers found 40 smokers currently looking to quit. Some of the participants were given non-nicotine e-cigarettes, others received vaporizers that did contain nicotine. All the participants were then placed in a standard smoking cessation program that utilized patches and psychological support. Researchers tracked the progress of the participants throughout the eight weeks. Subjects were asked to discuss their vaping habits in a checkup 24 weeks after the program began. The participants given nicotine e-cigarettes turned out to be twice as likely to quit successfully compared with the no nicotine group. Furthermore, half of the successful quitters from both groups had chosen to continue use of their e-cigarettes after the study was complete.
The primary cause of these results was determined to be related to psychological cues shared between vaping and smoking. This same reasoning was recently added to the British Psychological Society’s vaping guidelines. They believe that smokers who use e-cigarettes are more satisfied because of the presence of visual cues such as clouds of smoke being produced. These kinds of signals are simply not a part of most smoking cessation aids, giving a substantial reason for the observed effectiveness of vaping as a quitting tool. Because of this, researchers are excited at the potential of non-nicotine vaporizers being used in conjunction with traditional nicotine aids like patches to increase their effectiveness significantly.
The amount of peer-reviewed scientific research done on the relative risk of vaping is always growing, yet research on topics like these are still severely lacking. The consensus is rising that vaping is indeed much safer than smoking. Some studies, like one published by Public Health England, claim it’s at least 95% safer than traditional cigarettes. With that being the case, researchers are increasingly asking questions that have not been thoroughly covered yet. Results like these, especially coming from institutes as respected as Yale, significantly improves the case for vaping as a positive in our society.
What the team at Yale found only bolsters results of a study conducted at the University of Louisville that found vaping is the most effective smoking cessation tool, even beating out prescription drugs. The most notable result of the Yale study was that vaporizers are compatible with and even beneficial for widely available smoking cessation programs. Dr. Baldassarri and the team do acknowledge that one study is never enough to prove anything fully, so more research will have to be carried out. But regardless, they still feel vaping would be an excellent addition to these programs.
Do you believe that research is improving the public perception of vaping? Did vaping help you, or someone you know, quit smoking? What do you think was the hardest part of finally quitting smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.