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Another Study Confirms Quit Success for Vapers

The oft-heard litany of journalists, about how there isn't sufficient data to indicate whether vaping helps you quit smoking, is increasingly difficult to repeat with credibility. Those who pass it unthinkingly along are already ignoring a good deal of data. Another study has appeared, this one out of the University of Massachusetts at Boston, with a strong conclusion that electronic cigarettes are indeed an aid in quitting smoking.

The evidence one must ignore to repeat this falsehood starts with the thousands of enthusiastic testimonials from vapers themselves. These are typically dismissed as "anecdotal". Of course it is arguable that thousands of anecdotes make a statistic, but not for those repeating this self-serving litany. They insist on seeing successful vaping quitters as individuals, not as a population, even as they claim to be seeking a "population-level" solution to the smoking epidemic. When does a collection of individuals become a population? Only when the regulators see fit to admit the truth.

Other studies that must be ignored, in order to make this claim of insufficient data, include the definitive Farsalinos study of nineteen-thousand e-cigarette users worldwide. It also includes the French study substantiating that one-percent of the entire French population is successfully quitting cigarettes in favor of e-cigs. There have been more such studies, but these two are perhaps the most impressive, and conclusive. And the new U Mass/Boston study may be added to the list.

Another wrinkle is the statistical sleight-of-hand coming out of the University of California at San Francisco, where bloggers committed to vape bashing have consistently used misleading data-crunching to paint e-cigs not only as ineffective in quit attempts, but even as a deterrent to quitting. They do this by measuring e-cigarette use against all other quit methods taken collectively, then when vaping does not exceed the success of all the others together, it is judged ineffective. Then by a logical trick, it is guessed that ineffective e-cigs draw people away from trying the other methods, and thus can be deemed a deterrent to quitting. Magician Harry Houdini would have been proud.

The attack on "dual use" is also part of the picture. Reducing one's smoking by 500% is not seen as a stage on the way to quitting, or indeed as a valuable health benefit in its own right, but as a continuation of smoking, making it possible to view dual users as failed quitters. Only total abstinence has value. Witch burner Cotton Mather would have been proud.

Scientists Lois Biener and Lee Hargraves looked at 695 smokers in Indianapolis, Indiana and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, over a period of three years. Daily users were six times more successful in quitting smoking than non-users or casual experimenters. Thirteen percent of the intensive users had quit smoking entirely by the end of the research period.

Lead author Biener concludes: "This study provides strong support for the potential harm-reducing value of electronic cigarettes, which allow smokers to get the nicotine they want without exposing themselves to the 4,000 toxic chemicals in tobacco cigarettes."

The study, the first longitudinal study to group subjects by frequency of use, was conducted at U. Mass/Boston's Center for Survey Research with funding from the National Cancer Institute, and was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Says Biener, "Policy makers need to think carefully before enacting any laws that make adult smokers less likely to try these products."