The research confirms the findings of hundreds of other studies – that vaping is a legitimate and effective harm-reduction and smoking-cessation tool for adults. The risk profile of vaping nicotine is extremely low both on its own and as compared to smoking cigarettes according to the analysis. The research quantified the health and economic benefits of switching from smoking to vaping.
Dr. Shapiro’s 82-page analysis used advanced statistical modeling techniques and massive amounts of public health data to determine that between 2010 and 2022, the availability of vaping products saved 113,000 lives, preserved $137 billion in GDP, saved $39 billion in healthcare costs, and reduced the number of smokers in the U.S. by 6.1 million.
Among the key findings are that, between 2010 and 2022, the availability of vaping products:
Saved 113,000 lives
Preserved $137 billion in GDP
Prevented $39 billion in healthcare costs
Reduced the number of smokers in the U.S. by 6.1 million
The science is clear – if reducing smoking and preventable cancer is a priority for the Biden administration, approving a wide variety of e-cigarettes would be the easiest and most impactful place to immediately improve health outcomes. Allowing consumers to access lower-risk nicotine products would directly improve the health profiles of Black and LGBTQ+ Americans who smoke and die in higher numbers than the rest of the population.
But drug policy advocates warn that in the pursuit of cracking down on flavored e-cigarettes, the federal government risks undermining what they say is a major advance in public health. The emergence of e-cigarettes is lauded by advocates as an alternative to combustible cigarettes, which contain tobacco and pose a greater danger to consumers’ health.
Other government health agencies understand this. Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care launched a program called “Swap to Stop” that urges British citizens to exchange their carton of cigarettes for a vaping kit. The U.S. is far behind in its approach, but the FDA and the Center for Tobacco Products could easily implement a policy that broadly approves vaping products – especially flavored vaping products – whose availability makes it two to three times more likely adults will quit smoking as compared to non- or tobacco-flavored products.
Less smoking means less cancer, especially for Black and LGBTQ+ Americans. And supporting broad access to and availability of vaping products means supporting the Biden Cancer Moonshot. It means more adults quitting smoking; it means fewer cancer diagnoses; and it means eliminating the most preventable cause of death in the U.S.
The benefits of shifting from smoking to vaping will be felt most acutely among those communities most at-risk. Americans, especially Black and LGBTQ+ Americans, need regulatory policies that reflect modern science.
“Governments should do everything possible to basically incentivize, encourage and coerce big tobacco to make the transition from selling cigarettes – combustible nicotine – to selling non-combustible nicotine products because they are so much dramatically less dangerous,”
-Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
The drug policy expert also pushed back against arguments that cited the impact of e-cigarettes on the brain development of young people. He called those arguments flawed, and noted the similarities between arguments against marijuana during the war on drugs.
“If you look at the rhetoric and arguments they’re using, they’re almost identical to the rhetoric and arguments that they used with respect to marijuana – that marijuana undermines the adolescent brain, it’s going to lower IQ [or] that marijuana is a stepping stone drug,” explained Nadelmann. “The vast majority of those claims of marijuana were grossly overstated.”
These statements have not been evaluated and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. Please consult with a health professional when implementing with any current medical regimen.
The Major Benefits and Modest Risks of Nicotine Vaping Products, static1.squarespace.com/static/5f7c6946d37d497c2c1f0ae9/t/6536e731e467740ec4832f9f/1698096947306/VapingReport_202310.pdf. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.
Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr. “To Achieve the Biden Cancer Moonshot, e-Cigarettes Must Be Widely Approved.” Salon, Salon.com, 30 Oct. 2023, www.salon.com/2023/10/26/to-achieve-the-biden-cancer-moonshot-e-cigarettes-must-be-widely-approved/.
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