Tobacco smokers could gain 86 million years of life if they switch to vaping, study finds

October 2, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Up to 6.6 million cigarette smokers will live substantially longer if cigarette smoking is replaced by vaping over a ten-year period, calculates a research team led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center. In all, cigarette smokers who switch to e-cigarettes could live 86.7 million more years with policies that encourage cigarette smokers to switch completely to e-cigarettes.

Published in the journal Tobacco Control, the first study to model public health outcomes if cigarette smoking was replaced by e-cigarettes "supports a policy strategy that encourages replacing cigarette smoking with vaping to yield substantial life year gains," says the study's lead author David Levy, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi.

For the study, Levy and a team of 10 investigators looked at such variables as harm from e-cigarettes, and amount of youth uptake, and the rate of cessation among others.

Two projections, one described as optimistic and one pessimistic, were made based on different scenarios regarding the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared to cigarettes as well as differences in the timing of smoking initiation, cessation and switching. Both scenarios conclude there still would be considerable premature deaths averted, but also a much larger number of life years saved.

The "pessimistic" scenario finds 1.6 million of these former cigarette smokers will have a combined 20.8 million more years of life, while the "optimistic" scenario calculates 6.6 million nicotine users who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes will live 86.7 more life years.

"In addition, there would be tremendous health benefits including reduced disease disability to smokers, reduced pain and suffering, and reduced exposure to second hand smoke," Levy says. "Even the gloomiest analysis shows a significant gain in years of life if nicotine is obtained from vaping instead of much more deadly amount of toxicants inhaled with cigarette smoke."

Levy says the findings might help the Surgeon General and the public health community find a solution to their call to end cigarette smoking.

"The 2014 U.S. Surgeon General Report recommended an endgame strategy for the country's tobacco epidemic, but no additional strategy was laid out other than the current status quo tobacco control policies," he says.

Those policies include higher cigarette taxes, smoke-free public places, media campaigns, cessation treatment programs and advertising restrictions.

"While those policies have been effective over time—smoking prevalence has decreased markedly over the past 50 years—their impact has been relatively slow," Levy says.

He points out that the most current and substantial research on the use of vaping shows that use of e-cigarettes can effectively help smokers give up cigarettes.

"Old policies need to be supplemented with policies that encourage substituting e-cigarettes for the far more deadly cigarettes," Levy says. "Together, these policies as well as regulating the content of cigarettes have the potential to drastically reduce the massive harms from smoking cigarettes."

Levy adds, "FDA Commissioner [Scott] Gottlieb recently outlined a strategy of reducing the nicotine content in cigarettes and a harm reduction approach to e-cigarettes. These approaches are right on track. While we know less about nicotine reduction than the other more traditional policies, the evidence to date indicates that this approach also holds promise, especially if smokers are encouraged to switch to e-cigarettes."

Explore further: Vaping doubles risk of smoking cigarettes for teens

More information: Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes, Tobacco Control, DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053759

Commentary: The changing nicotine products landscape: time to outlaw sales of combustible tobacco products? Tobacco Control, DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053969

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12 comments

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rrrander
1 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2017
Vaping, smoking. Doesn't matter. People are fools for breathing anything other than air/oxygen into their lungs. They all deserve early death for the stupidity.
moranity
1 / 5 (1) Oct 03, 2017
it is nicotine that causes cancer by preventing cell death, look up nicotine and apoptosis
https://www.scien...2544.htm
for example
Origin314
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
This is an extremely simple concept, when you remove combustion from the equation there's an extreme reduction of toxins.
Origin314
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
it is nicotine that causes cancer by preventing cell death, look up nicotine and apoptosis
https://www.scien...2544.htm
for example

You have to understand that vapor products are a harm reduction tool, when a person switches from smoking to vapor products they are completely eliminating almost every of the 60+ Carcinogens found in Tobacco Smoke.

Yes nicotine is a stimulant (it's actually closely related to caffeine in how our bodies process it).

For those that don't want to or can't quit use of nicotine it's one of the best options created to date and is reducing death and disease caused by tobacco cigarettes, so are they perfect? Nope.. Are they much better than the status quo which is tobacco cigarettes? A definite Yes.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
The question of smoking is ultimately about whether nicotine should be a controlled substance, aka. an illegal drug.

That's why some people want to ban smoking AND vaping. The harm reduction is irrelevant if your real point is to stop people from using nicotine.
Origin314
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
The question of smoking is ultimately about whether nicotine should be a controlled substance, aka. an illegal drug.

That's why some people want to ban smoking AND vaping. The harm reduction is irrelevant if your real point is to stop people from using nicotine.

Maybe to you, I've seen lifelong smokers, people that have smoked 50+ years and try to give it up countless times significantly improve their quality of life by making the switch to reduced harm products.

Like I've said nicotine in small doses is nothing more than a mild stimulant, banning nicotine would only make sense if we were to ban all mild stimulants like caffeine and theobromine as well. One state tried to ban all products containing nicotine (exept tobacco of course) and inadvertently made tomatoes, potatoes and other plants in the nightshade family illegal...

If something is not causing death and disease I see no reason to ban it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
Vaping stores are going out of business everywhere because it's just not annoying enough.

Tobacco - the only addiction that does absolutely nothing else but treat it's own withdrawal symptoms. Ask any smoker - it doesnt make them feel high, it just returns them to normal.
Like I've said nicotine in small doses is nothing more than a mild stimulant
No its not, fatigue and mental confusion are symptoms of withdrawal.

See the deception there? Addicts lie to themselves and each other, and the industry supports the effort.

And the saddest part is that because it does permanent nerve damage, after a while there is no returning to normal. That's why it's so hard to quit. The urge returns unexpectedly throughout the remainder of their lives.

And this damage is also inflicted on those of us who were forced to inhale their 2nd hand smoke.

Tobacco has significantly affected the demeanor of society. It's like we were still using lead pipes.
Origin314
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
Tobacco - the only addiction that does absolutely nothing else but treat it's own withdrawal symptoms. Ask any smoker

And the saddest part is that because it does permanent nerve damage, after a while there is no returning to normal. That's why it's so hard to quit.

And this damage is also inflicted on those of us who were forced to inhale their 2nd hand smoke.


1. I highly suggest researching the benefits of nicotine, it's more than just an addiction, there's been more recent studies done in the last decade on nicotine outside of tobacco, nicotine is a stimulant, in fact it's a fairly smart stimulant because of how our bodies can process it, it can both be used to perk you up or to help you relax.

2. Which is why harm reduction can and is playing and extremely important role.

3. Research done by the CDC in the US shows no harm to bystanders from vapor, even under extreme conditions

Research it, read studies, nicotine isn't exactly the monster we once thought
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Oct 03, 2017
1. I highly suggest researching the benefits of nicotine, it's more than just an addiction, there's been more recent studies done in the last decade on nicotine outside of tobacco, nicotine is a stimulant
Bullshit.
used to perk you up or to help you relax
-You mean perk up and relax addicts dont you?
nicotine isn't exactly the monster we once thought
Of course it is. I suspect youre making a living off peddling it, or you're an addict yourself.

How does it feel to be addicted to dirt anyways?
sinjis75
5 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2017
Dear Origin314

On behalf of civilized humanity, may I please apologize for TheGhostofOtto1923. He does not represent the majority of people's opinions on the subject, and especially not mine. His ad hominem attacks, mudslinging, and deflection are, as many put it, the works of a troll.

Now, with that said, I was wondering if you could back up your claims as well, perhaps links to articles or journals. Somewhere for the rest of us to get started to do our own research. Google is fine, but sometimes not reliable, due to the echo chamber of it's algorithms.
Origin314
5 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2017
1. I highly suggest researching the benefits of nicotine, it's more than just an addiction, there's been more recent studies done in the last decade on nicotine outside of tobacco, nicotine is a stimulant
Bullshit.
used to perk you up or to help you relax
-You mean perk up and relax addicts dont you?
nicotine isn't exactly the monster we once thought
Of course it is. I suspect youre making a living off peddling it, or you're an addict yourself.

How does it feel to be addicted to dirt anyways?


I used it as a tool to end a 22 year smoking habit that was killing me.
Kweden
not rated yet Oct 09, 2017
Smoking anti-freeze (polyglycols) does not extend your life. Or at least there is no evidence of it.

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