From HealthNewsDigest.com

World
6.1 Million Europeans Quit Smoking Thanks to Vaping
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Jun 27, 2016 - 11:00:18 AM

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - More than six million smokers in the European Union have quit smoking and more than nine million have reduced cigarette consumption with the use of vapor products and electronic cigarettes, according to a new study published in the journal Addiction. 

Scientists 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 the use of electronic cigarettes. According to the study findings, 48.5 million Europeans have ever tried electronic cigarettes, but 7.5 million are current users. Among current users, 35.1% have quit smoking while an additional 32.2% have reduced smoking consumption.

"These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study," said Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, the principal investigator of the study. "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."
There is a lot of controversy over the use of the electronic cigarettes by non-smokers, but research appears reassuring. Jacques Le Houezec, a neuroscientist and researcher at the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research, said: "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. 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."
Professor Konstantinos Poulas mentioned the importance of the Eurobarometer survey in assessing electronic cigarette use in the European Union. "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. 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. "
Eurobarometer is a survey performed by the European Commission, assessing, among others, smoking and electronic cigarette use patterns in all 28 member states of the European Union.

Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, responded to the new study:

"For over seven years, tobacco control activists have loudly proclaimed that there is no evidence that vapor products help smokers quit. As the evidence supporting the efficacy of vaping has piled up, these activists have continually doubled down on their denialist attitudes. In the process, the anti-harm-reduction camp has embraced worse and worse science to support their outdated views.
"Worldwide, vaping has undoubtedly helped over 10 million smokers quit.  In the same year this study was conducted, a similar population-level survey was performed in the United States.  That 2014 study found that  2.4 million adults had quit smoking with vapor products.  Here in 2016, that number has almost certainly risen past 3.5 or 4 million quitters in the U.S. alone."
"It's time for a reality check for tobacco control.  There is a reason why distinguished and respected groups like the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England are coming out in support of vapor products. These technology products are helping smokers quit and it is entirely unethical to continue to deceive smokers about their potential risks and benefits."
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