A team at King’s College London’s Department of Addictions has done a study into why smokers make the switch to vape products, and why they sometimes swap back. The results of the study were published in this month’s Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.
Getting down to it
The study is titled “What factors are associated with current smokers using or stopping e-cigarette use”. The team set about trying to get to the bottom of the facts about the ways in which vaping is successful, and the ways in which it comes up short. They acknowledge the phenomenal success the vaping movement has had, making the jump from just 700,000 users in 2012 to more than 2.8 million by 2016 in a marketplace that is independent and unpromoted.
The team refers to other approved studies that have taken place in 2014 and 2015 which demonstrate evidence of the theory that the primary use of vaping is for people to help reduce or quit smoking. Thus they highlight that continuing with nicotine replacement therapies whilst cutting down on cigarette consumption is a pretty successful way of reducing the cravings for cigarettes, which further research has shown leads to an increased chance of quitting.
The healthier option
Further research has also shown that smoking cigarettes are more harmful to health than switching to e-cigarettes. But the team in this study were concerned that smokers who attempt to switch to vaping, but ultimately relapse back to cigarettes, constitute a missed opportunity to reduce the harm they are doing to themselves, or even cease smoking altogether.
With this concern in mind, the team posed two questions:
1. To what extent does the level of motivation to quit smoking influence e-cigarette use status?
2. What reasons do smokers associate with the use and discontinuation of e-cigarettes?
They worked with extensive data obtained by ASHUK from a national survey that took place in 2016 to identify participants that would be of interest.
What did they learn?
The top three reasons among smokers for using e-cigarettes were “to help stop smoking”, “to help reduce smoking”, and “to give it a try”. The top three reasons for discontinuing e-cigarette use were that they only ever intended to try them out, “it didn’t feel like smoking” and “it didn’t help with cravings for smoking”.
The community of people who have successfully made the switch to vaping is no doubt full of ideas and suggestions to help others make the transition from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. As this latest research shows that the main reason for people trying to make the switch is to help reduce or stop smoking, and other studies have proven that e-cigarettes are better for health than cigarettes, perhaps it is a good time to start vaping!