As more smokers switch to vaping, cancer rates continue to decline

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer diagnoses in the United States have been on a steady decline for the past 30 years.  Perhaps even more noteworthy, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that cancer-related death rates have also plummeted sharply by about 25 percent just since 1991. 

Meanwhile over the past five years, a growing number of adult smokers are successfully quitting by switching to vaping products as a safe and effective tobacco harm reduction tool.  The CDC also claims that adult smoking rates in America are now at an “all-time low” over the same timeframe.

This begs the question:  Does vaping indeed save lives?

The most current ACS data collected and analyzed across a broad spectrum of demographics and socioeconomic conditions seemingly indicates a possible relationship between the rise in popularity of vaping and the historic declines in adult and teen smoking.  Other than the rise in rates of smokers switching to vapes, other factors include fewer uninsured Americans, better public education on the dangers of smoking, and improved cancer-detecting diagnostics within the medical community.

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Annual public health Initiatives like the ACS’s  The Great American Smokeout  and Europe’s Stoptober campaigns are likely positively impacting the steady decrease in adult smoking and cancer rates, too. Since the very first Great American Smokeout which occurred more than 40 years ago (when approximately 35% of the entire United States were daily smokers) the number of adult smokers has dropped to an astonishing 13.7% in 2018.

The ACS also estimates that this the new historic lows in adult smoking rates of the past five years has saved approximately 350,000 lives between 2014 and 2015 alone.  Coincidentally, these years were also when the sales of vaping products were at their peak.   

Several recent studies indicate vaping more effective in quitting smoking than nicotine patches or gums.

Of course, it’s still too early to tell if there is a direct and scientific connection, but several ongoing research studies continue to suggest that vaping may be a significant contributing factor to these dramatic declines in adult cancer diagnoses of recent years. One of the latest studies is conducted by scientists from the University of California (UC) and endorsed by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under the State and Community Tobacco Control (SCTC) Initiative. 

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The UC study entitled E-cigarette use and associated changes in population smoking cessation: evidence from US current population surveys (BMJ) examined whether the increased use of nicotine-based vapor products is associated with the recent increases in permanent smoking cessation. The study's co-authors concluded that when e-cig use in America was at its highest, more and more adults were successfully quitting smoking simultaneously. 

A second study out of the University of Louisville analyzed the success ratios of a variety of smoking cessation methods, including the following.

  • The old school cold-turkey method
  • Prescription medications like Wellbutrin and Chantix
  • Big Pharma smoking cessation products like nicotine-infused patches, gums, and lozenges
  • And an array of open-tank and disposable vapor products.

The University of Louisville research indicates that electronic cigarettes and vaping devices have the highest success rates of helping adults quit smoking permanently.  In fact, the evidence is now considered so overwhelmingly positive that the United Kingdom’s Public Health England has publicly endorsed vaping as a stop-smoking aid.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to follow suit.

Related Article:  Public Health England releases new vaping research amid praise by advocacy groups

(Images courtesy of Shutterstock)

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