Over 6 million European smokers have managed to quit the dirty habit and more than 9 million have reduced their daily cigarette consumption with the help of electronic cigarettes, according to a study published in the scientific journal Addiction.
Researchers from the University of Patras-Greece, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre-Greece and the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research analyzed data from the 2014 Eurobarometer survey on smoking and e-cigarette use. They found that 48.5 million Europeans have ever tried electronic cigarettes, of which 7.5 million are current users. The study reports that among the current users 35.1% have quit smoking completely, while an additional 32.2% have reduced their daily tobacco cigarette consumption.
“The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1. High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2. Electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by non-smokers,” Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, lead author of the study, says. “These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study.”
The Eurobarometer is a large-scale survey performed by the European Commission which assesses. among others, smoking and electronic cigarette use patterns in all 28 member states of the European Union. The 2014 Eurobarometer was conducted on a sample of 27,640 EU citizens aged 15 and older.
Professor Konstantinos Poulas, co-author of the “Electronic cigarette use in the European Union: analysis of a representative sample of 27 460 Europeans from 28 countries“ study, emphasized the importance of the detailed Eurobarometer data in assessing e-cigarette use and their efficacy as a smoking cessation tool. “The questionnaire of the Eurobarometer is probably one of the most detailed ever used in analyzing electronic cigarette use on a population level. It provides detailed information about the frequency of use, differentiates experimentation from regular use and examines the use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes,” Poulas said. “Moreover, the survey enrolled a large sample of Europeans which was representative of the total EU population. A similar design should be used in all population studies. “
Apart from the huge percentage of European former smokers who managed to quit by switching to e-cigs, the study also found that the gateway theory often mentioned by e-cigarette opponents is not backed up by real-life data. “In non-smokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal. Just 1.3% of non-smokers reported current use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and 0.09% reported daily use,” co-author Jacques Le Houezec said. “Practically, there is no current or regular use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes by non-smokers, so the concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”
These results may seem too good to be true, and I wouldn’t put it past opponents of vaping to contest them simply because the study was conducted by two well-known supporters of electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking – Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and Prof. Jacques Le Houezec. Fortunately, their findings only confirm those of similar studies, like the 2014 INPES Health Barometer, which found that electronic cigarettes had helped over 400,000 smokers quit in France alone.
Interestingly, there is no mention of this study on any corporate media website. They are usually quick to pick up even the most outrageous junk study and promote it as actual scientific evidence, as long as it puts vaping in a bad light. The study has now been out for over a month, and apart from a press release and obscure vaping-related websites and forums, its has received zero media coverage. Meanwhile, exploding e-cigarette stories and unfounded research are promoted every single day…