Honey I Shrunk the Smokers!

Vaper’s Vortex

April 2, 2015


“Larger studies are now needed…to establish the importance of integrating these anti-smoking services into future tobacco control strategies.”

A never before done study of the efficiency of vaping products in aiding with smoking cessation has yielded results that are nothing short of exhilarating.

Ricardo Polosa, MD, PhD is the Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology at the University of Catania in Italy. Dr. Polosa also heads the University’s Centre for Tobacco Research. He is the author of more than 200 peer reviewed books and articles dealing primarily with respiratory medicine and tobacco addiction.

Or to put it more simply for plain folks like me, he’s a really smart dude that is a highly respected advocate of the benefits of vaping over combustible cigarettes. He also gave a speech at a meeting organized by the FDA in November of last year.

What They Did

  • 71 smokers, ≥18 years old, making their first ever purchase at a vape shop, were asked to complete a form. They provided their smoking history and current daily cigarette consumption.
  • They also completed a questionnaire – the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence – which produces a number indicative of the respondent’s level of nicotine dependence (you guys can Google if you want more info on the test).
  • All participants chosen for the study were actively looking to quit smoking.
  • All participating vape shops offered a large selection of nicotine levels, flavors and hardware including cigalikes, refillables and MODs. Details of products purchased by each participant including e-cig hardware, flavors and nicotine strength were recorded for the initial vape shop visit and all subsequent visits for a period of one year.
  • Participants were given detailed instructions on how to charge, fill, activate and use their electronic cigarettes.
  • Cigarette consumption was recorded (self-reported) at 6 months and again at 12 months.

What Happened

  • At the end of the 12 month study, participants were broken down into four categories:
    • Reducers – Sustained 50% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
    • Heavy Reducers – Sustained 80% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
    • Quitters – Sustained abstinence from all cigarettes.
    • Failures – Smokers who failed to meet any of the above criteria or failed to complete the study.
  • 49 participants or 69% completed the study.
  • As a group, cigarette consumption changed from a mean of 24.9 cigarettes per day at the start of the study, to 4.0 cigarettes at the 6 month point, to 2.6 at the 12 month end point.
  • 29 of the 71 participants were “quitters” at the 12 month point – that’s a quit rate of 40.8%.
  • 18 of the 71 participants were “reducers” at the 12 month point – 25.4%.
  • 11 of the 18 “reducers” were further classified as “heavy reducers” – 15.5%.
  • 24 of 71 were classified as “failures” – 33.8%. Note that 22 of the 24 did not complete the follow-ups and so were counted as “failures”.

Smoking reduction or cessation was achieved in 66.2% of participants. Within that group, overall cigarette consumption was reduced by 89.1% over the twelve month period.

Key Findings

  • The success rates of vaping have been reported in clinical trials and Internet surveys – but this is the first study done “under natural conditions”.
  • The quit rate was four times higher than even the most optimistic estimates for nicotine replacement therapies.
  • Success rates were not only high, but came quickly. The quit rate at 6 months was 42.2%, decreasing only slightly to 40.8% at 12 months.

So we have a first of its kind real world study. Led by a renowned leader in tobacco harm reduction. Yielding a smoking/reduction success rate that has no historical precedent. Nuff said.

How many of you think politicians and public health organizations will be issuing press releases to every media outlet in the country celebrating this new information? Raise your hands. Hold ‘em up. Nice and high. Anybody?

No, I didn’t think so.


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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at dave@diyels.com.

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

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