It would be almost amusing to watch government officials in the United States continue to claim that electronic cigarettes actually promote tobacco use were the natural consequences of those claims not so potentially tragic. Many in government circles around the country have continued to suggest that allowing vaping in public places somehow gives support for tobacco use – despite the obvious fact that e-cigarettes have nothing to do with tobacco. Many vaping opponents are so adamant in their hostility to e-cigarettes that they even deny vaping’s demonstrable benefit in the area of smoking cessation and claim that old standbys like the nicotine patch are a safer alternative. So, what is the truth? In the nicotine patch vs. e-cigs battle, which option is superior when you really want to stop your smoking habit.
It is important to understand what vaping opponents are claiming when they suggest that there is no evidence that demonstrates vaping’s effectiveness as a smoking cessation tool. They are effectively claiming that vaping cannot be used to escape the dangers associated with tobacco use. Moreover, when they argue that approval of public vaping somehow normalizes tobacco use, they are explicitly suggesting that the use of a non-tobacco product in a public venue somehow helps to make the public more comfortable with smoking.
Those claims are clearly absurd on their face. With respect to the smoking cessation issue, studies have already confirmed that millions of former smokers have abandoned tobacco in favor of vaping. Now, some government-backed scientists have suggested that such evidence is no more than anecdotal, but that ignores the fact that tobacco cessation studies almost uniformly rely on self-reporting in their methodologies. They rely on study participants to report their own smoking habits as they try to quit. That is normal procedure, since the alternative would involve monitors following subjects around for months on end, observing their every move.
Besides, anecdotal evidence has long been recognized as being within the bounds of the scientific method in medical case studies, though other forms of direct observation and testing are deemed to have greater validity. When it comes to smoking cessation, however, almost all studies rely on some form of self-reporting – and those studies are usually free from the type of criticism leveled against vaping studies.
They also claim that smoking electronic cigarettes can also make you addicted to vaping. But what does that mean, and what are the long term effects? This is a more detailed question that we answer separately in out study of vaping addiction.
As for the suggestion that public vaping can somehow normalize smoking, the claim falls flat. It suggests that the public is not sophisticated enough to understand the difference between products that contain tobacco and those that do not, even when the distinction is clearly explained to people. To date, no poll has suggested any such causal connection between vaping use and the public’s views on tobacco usage – and a reasonable person would give the public enough credit to assume that no such polls will be forthcoming any time in the future.
Granted that pulling a box mod like the VaporFi VOX TC mod out of your pocket in public is not exactly discrete, but there is nothing wrong with it, the only thing people should be complaining about is the vapor volume not the harm of the vapor!
Setting aside the opponents’ absurd claims for a moment, it is vital to review what the scientists have told us thus far. While the effort to study vaping is still fairly young, there have been studies that compare the use of vaping tools for smoking cessation with more well-known nicotine delivery substitutes. One study from 2014, conducted by a team of researchers at University College London, examined the cessation efforts of roughly 6,000 smokers. That study discovered that the use of electronic cigarettes was more effective than nicotine replacement tools like the patch or nicotine gum – as well as so-called “cold turkey” efforts to quit.
That study focused on surveys of former smokers who had quit tobacco use between 2009 and 2014, with adjustments made to reflect the study group’s various demographic differences. When those adjustments were in place, the study revealed that electronic cigarette users were 60% more successful in their efforts to end their smoking habit that those who used nicotine patches, gum, or nothing at all.
The study’s senior author, Professor Robert West, referred to his and other efforts to discover the potential uses of e-cigarettes as cessation tools as something that could potentially have a positive impact on the lives of millions of smokers who have struggled to quit their tobacco habits. It should be noted that West has never taken even a dime of money from electronic cigarette manufacturers – something that should inoculate him from any suggestion that his study results have been bought in any way.
West also noted that much of the controversy in government circles and the public health sector seems to be based on the false assumption that anything that benefits electronic cigarette manufacturers somehow serves as a benefit to tobacco companies. While several tobacco companies do profit from the sale of certain cig lookalikes, the vast majority of vaping product manufacturers of the best electronic cigarettes are directly competing with those tobacco giants. Of course, pharmaceutical giants tend to oppose vaping for a different reason: they market and sell many of the other cessation tools. Thus, they oppose vaping because vaping is perceived as a competitive threat to their own product sales.
There is more than enough evidence to indicate that electronic cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation option for people who want to end their tobacco dependency. Moreover, it is an option that also appears to be significantly more effective than more well-established systems like nicotine replacement. In a sane world, government and the medical community would be working together at every level of society to promote the use of electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. We have put together a dedicated guide looking at the best e cigs for smokers, so if your looking to cut down of quit completely, we urge you to take a look!
The very fact that this has not happened, along with the ongoing campaign of misinformation about these products and their benefits, would seem to be clear evidence that something more than the public health interest is at stake in this battle.