Prof Etter and Dr Chris Bullen, two eminent scientists in the field of Public Health have researched the changes in behaviour of e cig users who also smoke. They studied these changes over the period of a complete year. This is the first published study of its type, and comes up with information most vapers that have been around for a while will recognise – but it is fantastic for us to see it in black and white and published in a a peer reviewed journal – Addictive Behaviours. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460313003304
The study took place between 2011 and 2013, participants were recruited from e cigarettes websites, and we must point out before you read any further that this recruitment will have caused bias in the study and the authors acknowledge this. There is not enough bias to discredit the study, but enough for there to be a need to state that this study should be replicated and seen as a preliminary study only.
For the study, Prof Etter and Dr Bullen studied 447 vapers over a month, and 367 for over a year.
The average length of vaping was 3 months at the start of study, people took an average 150 puffs per day on their e cig , and the average strength e liquid used by participants was 16mg/ml.
The Results in a nutshell:
98% were still vaping after 1 month
89% were still vaping after 1 year
6% went back to smoking after 1 month
6% went back to smoking after 1 year –(compared to 95% who return to smoking with NRT)
A dual user is the terminology given to people whom vape and smoke cigarettes. Of those studied, 22% had stopped using tobacco altogether after 1 month of vaping, and 46% stopped altogether after one year.
Of those still smoking; their average tobacco intake was reduced to 5 cigarettes per day.
The conclusion of the study? – E cigs prevent relapse back to cigarette smoking.
Now relapse is a word many vapers would not likely use, as relapse feels medical and is Public Health orientated, however what this study clearly shows is that vapers, almost by happy co-incidence, switch almost entirely to vaping, and don’t go back to smoking.
One of the questions this study also set out to answer was – doesn’t dual use prolong addiction?
When addiction is used in the correct context, that is of compulsive use in spite of harm – then the answer is no. Prof Etter stated e cigs are not addictive in that sense – they can be used compulsively – but he believes e cigs are not harmful; therefore long-term vaping is not a problem. In an interview regarding this study he used the analogy of people compulsively chewing nicotine chewing gum. Many people do this for years to no detriment, and he believes compulsive e cigarette use is on a par with this.
E cigarettes are an alternative to cigarettes, and this study shows that people naturally reduce their cigarettes consumption when they start to vape. Dual use should not be seen as a problem, if anything it should be viewed in a positive light, as the longer people vape the less they smoke. Long-term vaping is not a problem.