E.U. Survey Finds E-Cigarettes Helped 15 Million Smokers Quit or Cut Back

There was little evidence that vaping leads to smoking.



A large survey of Europeans indicates that more than 6 million have quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, while more than 9 million have cut back, according to a study recently published by the journal Addiction. "These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study," says the lead researcher, Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens. "The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1) High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2) electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by nonsmokers."

The study, based on responses from 27,460 participants in the Eurobarometer survey, found that 48.5 million citizens of E.U. countries have tried e-cigarettes, while 7.5 million are current vapers. Within the latter group, 35 percent reported that e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking, while 32 percent said they were smoking less thanks to e-cigarettes. Such self-reports are not conclusive, since the study did not independently verify smoking status, smokers who try to quit by vaping are probably different from those who don't, and it's possible these outcomes could have been achieved without e-cigarettes. But policy makers and regulators should not lightly dismiss the experiences of millions who say e-cigarettes helped them make changes that dramatically reduced the health hazards they face.

Critics of vaping say the risk that it will lead to smoking in people who otherwise never would have used tobacco products must be weighed against the success stories of people who believe they'd still be smoking if it weren't for e-cigarettes. But this study found very little evidence of such a risk. Just 0.8 percent of respondents who had ever tried tobacco products said they had tried e-cigarettes first (which does not necessarily mean that the latter led to the former). Only 1.3 percent of never-smokers reported using e-cigarettes with nicotine-containing liquids, and only 0.09 percent did so every day. "In nonsmokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal," says one of Farsalinos' collaborators, Jacques Le Houezec, a neuroscientist at the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research. "The concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings."

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  1. Yes, but the idea of vaping just makes me feel icky. Just as icky as real smoking. I mean, it was the one thing that ruined the second season of True Detective.

    1. But in the world of Libertarianism, your feeling icky about something does not negate my freedom to indulge. But I respect your feelings.

      1. It doesn’t seem like you respect my feelings.

  2. The anti-smoking zealots are nuts, and they are wrong in their blanket opposition to vaping.

    But they are not wrong about non-smokers vaping. As the pool of smokers dwindles, the vaping industry will be forced to come up with new marketing techniques. They are still on the upswing of a new industry – with their current target market being all smokers. Once they come close to saturating that market, they will be forced to look elsewhere for expansion.

    There’s the overseas smoking market – China is probably a huge market. But eventually they are going to get around to trying to invent a recreational vaping market out of all of the non-smokers. The beverage industry has done a nice job of creating a recreational caffeine market – most recently with the advent of energy drinks to take soda and coffee to the next level.

    With Pot becoming legalized, you can easily see how the vaping industry could try to morph into a generic recreational drug delivery system. Various THC combinations, nicotine, flavorings, etc.

    It actually sounds pretty good to me – a non smoker and non-drug-user. We just need to stop this quasi-legal regulation crap. “Safe and effective” is supposed to be the standard for drug approval. If we could apply the same to recreational drugs, we’d probably be better off. But for some reason, euphoria or relaxation are not deemed acceptable outcomes of drug use for the “effective” part.

    1. We’re still quite a long way from what anyone could describe as over-saturation of the market such that creating a new target is necessary.

    2. I already vape THC, so the morph has already occurred. As a matter of fact, I vape THC in plain sight of police officers, who are none the wiser (and I do not live in a state that has legalized weed in any way).

  3. I have read at EssayUniverse.org that actually cigarettes can help to quit smoking. The traditional cigarettes made by tobacco which is harmful for health. Vaping is not much injurious for our health like smoking. That’s call vaping. In vaping there is fruit essence or liquid which is turned into smoke by the electronic atomizer. By vaping you can start a healthier habit by quitting smoking.

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