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New Yale study proves politicians wrong; flavored vapes do indeed help adult smokers quit

A recently published study conducted by public health scientists at Yale University is rebuking the widespread disinformation campaign about vaping being promulgated by politicians on Capitol Hill.  After collecting, evaluating, and analyzing mountains of research collected over the past decade, the new study finds that flavored vape product do indeed help adult smokers quit.

Led by Dr. Abigail S. Friedman, Assistant Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) and Assistant Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, the research entitled Associations of Flavored e-Cigarette Uptake With Subsequent Smoking Initiation and Cessation is published the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The report is unique in that it compares the roles of tobacco-flavored versus nontobacco-flavored vapor products on adult smokers trying to quit. 

Overview of the Yale vaping study

Using data collected between 2013 and 2018, the Yale team identified 17,929 people between the ages of 12 and 54 with prior vaping experience. The researchers based their analysis on the “differences in smoking initiation and cessation subsequent to vaping uptake among those who used flavored vs unflavored e-cigarettes, separately by age group.”

Even though lawmakers have been implementing flavored vaping bans at the local (San Francisco was the first), state (California Governor Gavin Newsom is the most recent), and federal levels (Congress just legally banned the U.S. Postal Service from delivering vape products), the Yale study indicates that these bans are likely counterintuitive to improved public health. 

Related Article:  Did you know Congress included a vape mail ban in the last COVID relief package?

According to the science, adult vapers of flavored vapes are 2.3 times more likely to quit smoking permanently than those who vape only tobacco flavors.  Furthermore, the researchers found zero evidence that youth vaping is a “gateway” to smoking—the most-often cited reason that lawmakers give for supporting these vaping bans in the first place.

“Favoring flavored e-cigarettes was not associated with greater youth smoking initiation but was associated with greater adult smoking cessation; specifically, among adults who smoked and began vaping, the odds of cessation for those favoring nontobacco flavors were 2.3 times that of those who used tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Because early smoking cessation has substantial health benefits, with those who quit smoking before age 35 years experiencing a life expectancy similar to that of those who never smoked, increased cessation among individuals aged 18 to 54 years has substantive implications for population health.”

As further proof that American politicians are dead wrong about vape bans, the co-authors also specifically state the following.

“Vaping nontobacco flavors was no more associated with youth smoking initiation than vaping tobacco-flavors (AOR in youth, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.16-2.76; P = .56) but was associated with increased adult smoking cessation (AOR in adults, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.04-5.01; P = .04).”

The Yale study is just the latest in a growing pile of research papers which indicate that vape bans just don’t work.  Worse yet, they are likely to be pushing millions of adult former smokers right back into the loving and welcoming arms of Big Tobacco. 

And while politicians continue to push vaping bans in their efforts to curb teen vaping, the lawmakers may not even be reading the tens of thousands of studies that they are so often misquoting.  In most of these “vaping is a gateway” studies, the highest percentage of youth e-cigarette users are only using vapor products once or twice a month, often in social settings and just like generations upon generations before them who experimented with smoking. 

Related Article: As unfounded claims of vaping as a gateway to smoking persist, Aussie scientists strike back

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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