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Dr. David Levy: E-cigs may lead to 21% reduction in deaths related to smoking

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According to a 2016 e-cig study involving teenage participants, vaping may be directly attributable to a rapid decline to smoking related deaths for the Millennial Generation. Using a computerized modeling software measuring the uptake of e-cig vapor, the scientists also state their belief that previous claims that vaping is a gateway to smoking have been grossly overstated.

The study led by Dr. David Levy of Georgetown University Medical Centre was funded by three major publish health organizations - The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISMN), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The researchers also used vastly different protocol to evaluate the associated participants before allowing them into the related control groups for the Levy e-cig study.

The Levy e-cig study: What is a ‘teen vaper?’

Many previous e-cig studies in recent years have claimed that vaping is a gateway to teen smoking. However, many of these studies have also been largely criticized for their failure to clearly define “what is a teen vaper.” Numerous studies qualify a teen vaper as only someone who has tried an e-cig at least one time in the past 30-days.

Since teenagers are well-known for their affinity towards peer pressure and socialized experimentation, it is no big leap that millions of teens who might have vaped only socially at parties would not technically qualify as a true, regular vaper. Yet many of these teens were allowed to participate in these previous vaping studies.

"Those are not the people we are concerned with. We tried to get an idea of the number of people who progressed to established use."

- Dr. David Levy

Not so, for the Levy research. The team of NCI, CISMN, and NIDA scientists split their sample group of participants into two distinct categories. The first was for teen vapers who admitted that they would have never even considered smoking a tobacco cigarette had it not been for vaping. The second group was for teen vapers who admitted to being tempted to smoke but opted for vaping instead because they heard it was safer and healthier.

What the Levy team discovered is that vaping might lead to as much as a 21 percent reduction in smoking related deaths for people born after 1997. They also note that while vaping among teens has increased in recent years, the rates of teen smoking are in rapid decline. These statistics are also supported by newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published earlier this year.

The Levy study The Application of a Decision-Theoretic Model to Estimate the Public Health Impact of Vaporized Nicotine Product Initiation in the United States is published is readily available for review in its entirely via the Nicotine & Tobacco Research website. 

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