A new study, published in Tobacco Control, by George Washington University researchers found that adults who vape and smoke are likely to stay long-term smokers. It is a common assumption that vaping helps smokers transition to no or low tobacco smoke use, so this study highlights the need for further research on smoking and vaping behavior.
The researchers analyzed data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, a nationally representative, longitudinal study of tobacco use in the US population. This study tracked regular concurrent users of cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes over a six-year period. The first (baseline) wave of data from 2013 consisted of 45,971 adults and youth and an annual follow-up of smoking and vaping behavior.
The George Washington University researchers found that the most common pattern (42% of participants) was quitting vaping early but continuing to smoke. Only 10% of study participants quit vaping and smoking early, while 15% continued using both products.
The study has significant implications for those individuals who see vaping as a reliable method of weaning off tobacco cigarettes. According to lead researcher Nandita Krishna, “This study suggests that at the population level, vaping may not help people kick the smoking habit. People who concurrently use e-cigarettes and cigarettes experience increased health risks and both products deliver nicotine, which is addictive.” Krishna recommends helping individuals quit both smoking and vaping.
The American public holds diverse attitudes about vaping effects, and there is little research on the long-term health effects of vaping. Vaping has divided the tobacco community into those concerned about health risks and those who believe that vaping facilitates tobacco cessation. Future research should consider the continuous changes in policy and the ENDS marketplace that may impact access to products and consumption behavior.
Sources: Eureka News Alert, George Washington University, Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, Tobacco Control