Switching to E-Cigarettes Can Lengthen a Person's Life

Though e-cigarettes and other vaping products are growing more popular they haven't proven to be as much of a boon

A general switch by tobacco smokers to electronic cigarettes could reduce tobacco-related deaths in the United States by a quarter by the year 2100, according to a study published on Tuesday.

People using e-cigarettes are not exposed to the carcinogens and chemicals produced by burning tobacco, although they still endure the addictive and systemic effects of nicotine, Levy said.

Doctors said vaping is a step in the right direction for smokers looking to quit.

Some experts not directly involved in the research also said its findings held a clear message.

While the lifesaving potential of e-cigarettes hypothesized in the study is promising, it'll hardly be the last word in an ongoing and ever growing debate about the benefits or harms of e-cigarettes.

Using mathematical models, researchers calculated how two possible scenarios of cigarette and e-cigarette use - one optimistic scenario and one pessimistic scenario - could impact public health if Americans who smoked cigarettes switched to e-cigarettes over the next 10 years.

"I did not expect that under the worst-case scenario, where we assumed all of the negative claims that we have found about e-cigarettes, that we would still find substantial public health gains in terms of lives saved", he said.

Scientists and specialists fighting against tobacco consumption are divided on the use of e-cigarettes.

That research, published today in the journal Tobacco Control, is the first to model prospective health outcomes based on a hypothetical situation in which cigarette use is largely replaced by e-cigarettes over a 10-year period.

The debate on the possible harmful effects of electronic cigarettes on health has not yet been settled, even if many experts stress that it is less unsafe than tobacco.

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The data also show that among those making at least one quit attempt, quit success was lower among individuals who had used e-cigarettes at some point in the past, but higher among those with at least five days of e-cigarettes use in the last month.

The calculations in the e-cigarette substitution scenario, whether best-case or worst-case, suggested significant benefits in a potential gain of life-years and averting premature deaths (deaths that occur before life expectancy).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously cracked down on flavored tobacco products in 2009, when it banned the sale of flavored cigarettes.

As far as smoking is concerned, e-cigarettes may simply represent the lesser of two evils.

At the end of the day, e-cigarettes aren't considered safe from a health perspective.

Starting next month, major USA cigarette companies will publish a series of statements about the health risks of smoking.

People would quit e-cigarettes at about the same rate they quit tobacco.

But DePalo worries that such a strategy might imply that continued nicotine addiction is acceptable compared to the hazards of smoking, unless more is done to help e-cigarette users eventually wean themselves off the devices.

"For years, harm-reduction advocates have relied on quality research from independent European researchers and non-government organizations, only to be told that such research was somehow not trustworthy because the authors were not American".

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