Long-Term Study Indicates Vaping 96% Less Dangerous Than Smoking, Could Save The US $309 Billion and 456,000 Lives

Dr. Robert L. Cranfield’s research looked into how e-cigarette use affects the health of former smokers after several years of use

A newly circulated study published on ResearchGate has found that vaping has “a dramatic and positive effect on the health of those who are able to switch from cigarettes.” The research was conducted by Dr. Robert L. Cranfield and his team, as they hoped to better understand the different demographics of vapers and how several years of use has impacted their health. What they found was nothing short of astounding, with a reported 96% reduction in self-reported adverse health effects between when users made the switch to vaping and now. They hope that this study will be part of a trend of research looking into the long-term health effects of vaping. They believe that this study represents just the first step in truly understanding the impact on health making the switch to vaping has.

Cigarettes directly lead to over 480,000 deaths every year, and that includes nearly 50,000 deaths caused by second-hand smoke. If you add the cost of healthcare for problems related to smoking with the estimated loss in productivity due to early death you end up with an astronomical $326 billion. Even when accounting for the risk of e-cigarettes, this loss is still totaled at $309 billion in just the United States.

The Study

The study only gained very minor traction when it was first published on ResearchGate in October of 2016. But just in the last week, it has started to gain a broader audience, being recirculated through trusted hubs like Google Scholar. Dr. Cranfield and his team got their numbers by distributing two different survey types. One was shared online through social media, while paper copies were given to vape shops around the Southeastern US. Over a six month period between March and August of 2015, the surveys were collected by his team and analyzed. A vast majority of the returned questionnaires came in the online format (527 vs. 46). The questions themselves were broken into two parts. The first was demographic information and the second pertained to health differences between when they smoked and vaped.

The three main categories looked at were, former smokers who reported no ill effects while smoking, those who had been vaping for over three years, and vapers who had not been smoking before starting vaping. The participants were asked to answer several questions about their health, mostly regarding which, if any, smoking-related conditions they had been diagnosed with. They were then asked if these conditions had improved or gotten worse once they switched to vaping. They were also asked if they’d developed any conditions while vaping they hadn’t experienced when smoking. Lastly, they were asked to rate their personal feelings on their level of health on a scale of 1-10, with one being the worst and ten being the best.

The Results

After analyzing the over 573 responses to their survey, Dr. Cranfield and his team observed some significant trends. The most shocking of these results found that among the 108 participants who had reported vaping for over three years, the average reduction in adverse health effects was a whopping 96% (average went down from 1.78 to 0.07). But that was not the only positive result found by the researchers. They also found that on average, vapers reported a complete resolution of 1.1 health conditions since they started vaping. This was most often shortness of breath, but it was also significantly reported with Hypertension, infections, palpitations and both types of bronchitis (Acute and Chronic).

In the group of 136 former smokers who had never reported an adverse health effect while smoking, only one said they developed an issue while vaping. Interestingly, not even a single member of the never-smoking group reported developing any adverse health effects. These results held true during the subjective assessment of health both before and after starting to vape. The average score given by all participants about their time as a smoker was 3.93, while after the switch this number jumps all the way to 8.27. Even though some small differences were noted between the different subgroups, these observed trends held up incredibly well even in the never-smoking group.


While their results were extremely encouraging, the researchers made sure to acknowledge that the risks of vaping are not fully understood. But one thing we do fully understand is the gravely severe health risks of smoking cigarettes. So while more research is undoubtedly needed, especially into the long-term effects of vaping, evidence like this proves that vaping is worth studying.

As mentioned, this study was first published in 2016 and was quickly swept under the rug. At the time it was unable to get circulated reputable news sources, but now it’s nearly 2018 and the world has changed. A lot of research has come out in the last few years that supports everything Dr. Cranfield and his team initially found. Well respected government agencies, such as Public Health England, have even gotten entirely on board to the idea that vaping at least 95% safer than smoking. But one thing that has not changed is the extremely adverse effects of tobacco on our society. If we truly value the lives of every smoker, more needs to be done to support research like this when it is published, not two years later.

Do you think the world is more open to studies like this now than when it was initially published? How much do you think your health has improved since making the switch to vaping? Are you surprised by any part of Dr. Cranfield’s findings? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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