EU Study Finds Very Few Vapers Never Smoked

Stunning new research coming out of the European Union has recently discovered that only 2.3 percent of all vapers have never been traditional cigarette smokers.

The study, which was reported on by The Winston-Salem Journal earlier this week, has pointed out that in the EU, it is rare to find a vaper who hadn’t previously smoked. It also concluded that 67 percent of smokers who switched to vaping either quit smoking or smoked significantly fewer traditional cigarettes. Of the 67 percent of participants surveyed, 35.1 percent reported that they had stopped smoking altogether.

The study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, who is a professor at the University of Patras in Greece. It surveyed over 27,000 EU residents who are current vapers and included residents from each of the 28 member states. The study and its results were recently published in the journal Addiction.

“E-Cigarette use in the European Union appears to be largely confined to current or former smokers, while current use and nicotine use by people who have never smoked is rare,” researchers stated in the conclusion of this study.

The study, which is supported by other studies conducted in the United States and in other EU countries, shows that vaping is indeed used as a smoking cessation tool by traditional smokers and that only a rare percentage of the population is introduced to vaping through non-traditional smoking means. In fact, the 2014 National Health Interview Survey that was conducted in the US shows that up to four million Americans have used vaping specifically for this purpose.

Neuroscientist and researcher Jacques Le Houezec, who works for the French National Research Institute for Health and Medical Research, stated that this survey has concluded that “practically, there is no current or regular use of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes by nonsmokers, so the concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”

The tobacco industry, its allies, and anti-tobacco health advocates have been waiting for a pioneering study that concludes, once and for all, whether vaping is a healthier alternative to traditional smoking. Vaping advocates are happy to claim this as a reduced-risk alternative and have been fighting for governments, in particular, the US government, to recognize the industry as such.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not on board with labelling vaping as a healthier alternative. The agency did not wait for a conclusive study, preferring to hand down controversial regulations on the industry that could see it torn apart when the laws go into effect in August of this year. The agency has stated the fact that there currently is no scientific study that satisfies their requirements to have vaping considered a smoking cessation tool.

The FDA itself is currently facing at least six lawsuits from industry insiders, the vaping public, and legislators that are trying to hold off the regulations from taking effect in August. Many of the lawsuits are providing evidence from a multitude of studies that show vaping to be a benefit, not a danger, to U.S. smokers.

Studies have been floated in the public arena that has lent themselves to both sides of this debate. Some studies, such as the Royal College of Physicians study that has been discussed here before has claimed that vaping is up to 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Other studies are recommending that the vaping industry is banned from making any health claims at all, even claims relating to smoking cessation.

So far, there has been no joint study between vaping advocates and anti-vaping advocates. This kind of study, which will bring about two sides of a debate within one study, is sorely needed in order to put a somewhat objective light on vaping and how it can help smokers quit. Until then, however, scientific studies are favoring vaping, leading the public to also question whether limiting vaping is a good idea at all.

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