When former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced last December that vaping is considered a gateway to smoking, scientists at Penn State University immediately took notice. On Monday, June 12, a team of researchers led by Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences Guodong Liu released the results of their first vaping study which seems to refute Murthy’s prior claims. According to the vaping study, e-cigs are significantly less additive than their tobacco cigarette counterparts.
Overview of the Penn State vaping study
The basis of the scientific research comes from the long-anticipated and just-released results from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study. 32,320 smokers and vapers took part in the PATH study, and the Penn State team used the resulting data as a starting point for their addiction research. What they discovered gives renewed hope to millions of people who experience extreme difficulties in quitting smoking.
- Of the original 32,320 PATH participants, 3,586 were chosen to take part in the Penn State vaping study.
- 5 percent self-identify as “only vapers.”
- 95 percent self-identify as “only smokers.”
- Of the “only vapers,” 93 percent were also former smokers.
- By surveying the control group, Penn State scientists discovered that the “only vapers” claim to begin vaping much later in the morning as compared to their previous morning rituals revolving around smoking.
- Vapers also consider themselves far less addicted to their vape mods and e-liquids as compared to their previous cigarettes vices.
- Vapers also found it easier to avoid vaping in public places or other locations that abolish the activity as compared to their days as a tobacco addict.
- Cravings to vape were also listed as significantly less severe compared to smoker’s cravings.
“Compared with cigarette smokers, e-cigarette users waited longer to start using their product after waking up. Vapers were less likely to consider themselves addicted, to have strong cravings or to feel like they really needed their product. They were also less likely to say they found it difficult to refrain from using their product in restricted places. Researchers report their findings in Preventive Medicine.”
The results of the Penn State research E-cigarettes less addictive than cigarettes, study shows are easily available for review via the Science Daily website. Lui and his team readily admit that this latest research is not 100% conclusive that vaping is less addictive than smoking. However, they also believe they are on the right track. As a result, the Penn State team is making plans to conduct future studies on the topic.
Of the original 32,320 PATH participants, over 80 percent allowed the former PATH scientists to extract biomarker samples of blood and urine for periodic analysis over the course of the study. The Penn State team plans to use this data - once it is officially released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – to determine if the self-reported addiction claims made by the individual members of the control group stand up to the scientific evidence (i.e. nicotine levels) of their related biomarker samples. The hope is to scientifically determine that vaping is not a gateway to smoking, and to perhaps even prove once and for all that transitioning to e-cigs essentially reduces those nasty smoker’s cravings long-term.