A study coordinated by Georgetown University Medical Centre is presenting encouraging findings in support of reduced risk tobacco alternatives like e-cigarettes and vapor products. Eleven leading experts in cancer research, tobacco control, and public health policy examined mortality rates and life expectancies among cigarette smokers compared to e-cigarette users. The study determined that 6.6 million premature deaths would be avoided if a majority of American cigarette smokers made the switch to vaping. 

Here are more of their findings: 

  • “A strategy of replacing cigarette smoking with vaping would yield substantial life-year gains” with younger adult populations benefiting most from using vaping as a method of smoking cessation.

  • Increased vaping use among cigarette smokers would “reduce health disparities, since smoking rates are highest among those with lower income and education” 

  • Increased vaping use among cigarette smokers would “translate directly into lower medical costs” and would produce “an improved quality of life” 

  • While the study looked solely at cigarette smokers, substituting e-cigarettes for all combustible tobacco products would further increase the public health gains. 

  • Popular tobacco control policies like tax increases, advertising restrictions, and media campaigns have been “relatively slow” in averting potential deaths and have a “limited” ability to achieve quick and substantial declines in smoking rates. 

Extrapolating from this study, using state population as a proportion of national population, we can determine how many lives can be saved in each U.S. state. In California, for example, over 800,000 premature deaths would be avoided if a majority of California smokers switched to vaping. Florida would see nearly 450,000 lives saved and 250,000 lives would be saved in Ohio. 

This study should incentivize lawmakers across the country to promote vaping as the most effective method of smoking cessation. Legislation that would decrease access to vapor products, such as flavor bans, tax increases, and nicotine percentage caps, would keep people smoking – and dying from – cigarettes. These proposals must be rejected in the interests of public health. 

Instead, legislators can pursue laws that empower adults to quit the deadly habit of cigarette smoking. This is currently occurring in Rhode Island, where four Democratic State Representatives introduced a bill that would legalize flavors in vapes, which are scientifically proven to be twice as effective at helping smokers quit than unflavored products.  

We all should be inspired by the leadership of these Rhode Island legislators and urge elected officials across America to follow their example. Millions of lives quite literally depend on it.