Alternative nicotine products increase numbers quitting smoking

Shaimaa Al-Aees
3 Min Read

A new study, presented by Professor Kenneth Warner, Avedis Donabedian Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Dean Emeritus at the University of Michigan, has shown that using alternative nicotine products increases the numbers who stop smoking.

In “Balancing consideration of the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes”, Warner said that a recent study by US News articles found that from 2015-2018, 70% of articles mention the vaping risks for youth, but only 37% know the potential balance for adult smokers.

 In 2019, national US survey found that nearly half of adults responded incorrectly, considering vaping nicotine more harmful than cigarettes. Only 18% consider vaping and e-cigarettes to be less harmful. 

He added that though the average cause is well understood by the CDC and FDA, two-thirds of respondents incorrectly associated death from long-term disease with the use of e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, 28% of them correctly refer to the consequences of using marijuana or THC cigarettes.

Some professors believe that vaping may be beneficial for public health, given the substantial evidence to reduce smoking, he noted.

He further pointed out, “Our objective is to balance consideration vaping on the public health in media and policy circles.”

Warner elaborated that vaping increases the cessation of smoking, giving evidence from randomised controlled trails. Further evidence comes from population studies in 2016, which indicate that vaping and using alternative nicotine products increases the numbers quitting smoking by 10-15% in the UK.

Additionally, the CDC in 2018 reported that 15.1% of smokers quit for more than six months using e-cigarettes, whilst 3.3% use other non-cigarette tobacco products, and 6.6% use no tobacco products. Regular and frequent e-cigarette use with smoking cessation increases, while infrequent use does not. 

Sales data on cigarettes and e-cigarettes and HTPs shows a 2-3% annual decline in cigarettes, whilst e-cigarettes sales increase substantially. Meanwhile, cigarettes sales decline by as much as 6% per year, according to Warner.

“There is also evidence showing the unintended consequences of policies restricting vaping,” Warner noted, “The Minnesota e-cigarette tax increased adult smoking and reduced cessation.” 

He added that taxing e-cigarettes at the same rates as cigarette national wide could deter 2.75 million smokers from quitting smoking over a decade. Moreover, state restrictions on minors’ access to e-cigarettes is associated with higher adolescent cigarette smoking. The final and fifth evidence is the natural experience in harm reduction.

Swedish men have used snus, an oral smokeless tobacco product, for decades. This makes the country as the lowest male cigarette smoking rate in Europe, giving them the lowest tobacco-related death rate in the EU. More recently, men and women in Norway have adopted snus and given up smoking, Warner concluded.

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