Along with the continuous flooding of the misinformation about vaping, there is a continuous stream of data to uncover the reality of the situation. People like Stanton Glantz will make extreme statements are based on studies that bad (probably done by him) and provided a worldwide platform to spread the message, while the researchers who work as hard as the struggle Dr. Konstatinos Farsalinos even gaining recognition in the media for his many pieces of research.
This is true in almost every aspect of the debate vaping, but a dangerous precedent is “debate” around whether vaping really help smokers quit. That does not. But that did not stop the wrong information from flowing, usually based on a study poorly-conducted that did not even pass the most basic sense-check of the interested reader, even a non-expert who decided to read behind the headlines.
A great example of this is a study published in 2018, with none other than a senior author Stanton Glantz, which looked at data from a Eurobarometer survey in 2014 and concluded:
At the population level, the net effect of the influx of e-cigarettes into the European Union (and England) were associated with quitting smoking conventional cigarettes depressed.
This conflicts with tons of research from around the world, and it is surprising that there is something wrong with the analysis. That’s why Dr. Farsalinos and Anastasia Barbouni published a new study based on the 2017 version of the same survey, improving analysis and – surprisingly enough – come to completely different conclusions. They found that current or former daily vaping positively associated with having recently quit smoking.
So what happened here? Why two studies come to such different conclusions?
The Old Study
The study is based on the 2014 Eurobarometer survey view the data in a way that is pretty basic. The researchers looked at all never-smokers in the survey sample, and compared to those who had been regularly vaped with people who have never vaped in terms of their chances of becoming an ex-smoker. They find that it does see every day, occasional or experimental vaping, likely to be former smokers was lower in those who already vaped compared with those who did not.
The big problem with these findings is that vaping has not been around forever. While it is certainly possible to get the e-cigarettes in 2009, said it did not really take off until much later, and the author does not consider how long it’s been since former smokers had quit. Many ex-smokers in the group stopped smoking before vaping even available, which bias the results when compared with such a simple way. It creates an artificial abundance former smokers who quit without vaping, not because vaping does not work, but because that option is not even available for many of them.
The New Study – Update and Improve Analysis
This is where new studies come. The researchers looked at 2017 Eurobarometer survey, with more than 13,000 smokers and ex-sample, of the entire EU. They noted several sociodemographic factors such as age, gender, social class and education, see participants smoking status, and broke them into daily, occasionally and never-vapers, also noted whether they still vaped or has stopped at the time of the survey.
The basic idea is to perform the same analysis as in previous studies, but accounting for the duration of the stop in the analysis. So, rather than lumping all ex-smokers together, no matter how long they will cease to researchers grouped into ex-smokers are less than two years, three to five, six to ten years and over ten years.
Vaping Associated with Latest Stop
Title finding from this study is that associated with smoking cessation vaping recently during the study. Former smokers who quit more than 10 years ago rarely vaped, while those who quit smoking within the last five years is substantially more likely vapers from other groups. Overall, daily vapers five times more likely to have stopped between 2015 and 2017, and three times more likely to have stopped between 2012 and 2015. These figures are based on a mathematical model used in this study and compared with those who had never vaped. If you see a stop smoking in general – regardless of how long ago they quit – vapers still 50 percent more likely to have quit smoking.
On the other hand, occasionally vaping is not related to have stopped in the previous five years, and a negative correlation with having stopped 6 or more years prior to the study (ie those who vapers occasionally less likely to have quit the ancients). This is basically what the older studies found, but the explanation is clear: very few people vaped before 2011, so it makes sense that vapers will be far less likely to find themselves in this group.
So overall, the results showed a clear link between having stopped smoking recently and became Vaper – if you vape, you are more likely to have quit smoking recently from someone who has not. Of course, this is an association and does not conclusively prove that vaping help people quit smoking. However, in order to reject the idea that you have to reject a lot of other evidence as well, so if you take everything we know into account, this is a clear sign of other vaping is to help people quit smoking. It is also possible that they stop smoking before beginning to vape (because the survey did not have information about which comes first) but again this is quite unlikely based on what we already know.
Former Smokers Would not Start vape
One of the less frequently repeated objection to vaping is that people who quit smoking may start vaping as a way for relapse. Kind of like the hypothesis “back gate” – they can get back in nicotine through vaping and ended up smoking again. Fortunately, though, this study provides pretty good evidence that this is not the case.
First, 97.7 percent of people who quit smoking more than 10 years before the survey was never vaped, and only 0.2 percent daily vape. For people who quit between 6 and 10 years prior to the survey, only 1.4 percent of the daily vapers, and 91.4 percent never vaped.
This may not be the most surprising finding people who are already familiar with vaping and not specifically look out for each argument can be used against vaping, but still good to get a confirmation. Of course if you’ve quit smoking there is little reason to want to vape. It’s even possible that ex-smokers are at risk of starting again may take vaping is not and never ending smoking – the study does not provide evidence of this, but it remains an interesting possibility.
E-Cigarettes Are not Stopping People in Europe From Stop
If you have kept up with research into vaping, this study does not tell you anything new, but it does not add more evidence of something a number of disappointing people have trouble accepting: vaping is an ally in the fight against smoking-related illness and death. Previous research seeks to play in this fear by lumping people who quit smoking long before vaping popular with people who could feasibly be used to stop vaping. But when you look at the data in more detail, it unavoidably obvious that smokers using the e-cigarette as an aid to stop, and it is very likely that they are useful as an aid to stop. This conclusion is supported by the large sample size of more than 13,000.
So – shock horror – Stanton Glantz produced another flawed piece of research with results aligned with its ideological objectives. Matter how much undue attention gets still serious research, but the more we can deal with denials directly like this, the better.