The Belgians think it might be.

 A new study has been released investigating the smoking to vaping journey, but from the perspective of new vapers that specifically buy their first e cig from a bricks and mortar shop.

100 customers were chosen from 5 Vape shops. Follow up was then done both 3 months and 6 months later, with eCo2 measures taken to ensure they were telling the truth. The Vapers studied bought 3rd/4th generation e cigs, in this case meaning refillable, rechargeable devices, with adjustable settings such as wattage etc. The vapers mainly chose sweet flavored e-liquid – 65%. Tobacco 46%. Mint 26%. (Anybody seeing a recurring pattern her with the e-liquid choices?)

What the Belgian researchers found was that smoking reduction was significant. 18% of participants gave up smoking completely within the 6-months’ time frame, 25% halved their cigarette intake, and they found the quitters used more e-liquid than those that dual used. This increase in e liquid consumption may have something to do with the average nicotine strength being 7%, and the researchers acknowledge this in the conclusion.

 “The resulting low nicotine consumption (obtained from vaping) could possibly and partially explain the relatively low quit-smoking rates. To the extent that this interpretation is valid, salespeople of vape shops might wish to advice novice vapers to use e-liquid with sufficiently high nicotine concentrations, and/or not to be afraid of vaping frequently and as much as needed or desired.”

 This fact is something we are very well aware of in our TW Vape lounges and are surprised that the average nicotine level was so low for new vapers. 

Maybe it’s a European thing.

In Belgium, 4% of the population vape, in the UK it’s 6% - not surprising as the UK government fully endorsing vaping and the UK is somewhat the poster boy for vaping. Vape shops globally have been found to offer individualized help and this individualized attention appears to foster a higher success rate for making the switch. Which again makes sense. It makes sense to go into a store and get that help from people that know their stuff. The researchers wanted to find out “if and to what extent vaping promotes smoking cessation among those who choose to start vaping.” As with most things, there is a generally higher success rates in those that take on personal responsibility. If you make the effort to go into a shop, have the device and vaping explained to you, get that hands-on approach, you will be more invested.  

But back to the European stats. In the UK and France between 41 – 52% of e cig users have quit completely. Yet… this statistic does not tell us about the initial 6 months of the vaping journey.  What helps someone to stay vaping, stay focused and reduce their cigarette consumption, if that is their goal? The researchers assessed customer preferences, harm belief, e cig behavior, smoking history, and as we mentioned earlier, all were biochemically verified with exhaled carbon monoxide measurements. Asked what their main motivation was to start vaping, it was to gradually stop smoking, - 52%. Quit immediately – 27%. Those that wanted to dual use from the outset made up 11%. The research doesn’t seem to answer the important questions of what keeps someone motivated, as I guess that is the million-dollar question with any habit change but vape shops do seem to help the first-time vaper more than online stores.  

The researchers write,

 “These results indicate, that for those smokers who voluntary choose to try out vaping (with or without intention to quit smoking), benefits can be expected to occur regarding smoking behavior. For some smokers, complete smoking abstinence was not achieved but they were able to reduce the amount of smoked CPD by becoming “dual users” (combined smoking and vaping). In our study, 57% of participants were dual users at FU1 and 47% at FU2. These results seem to be in line with those of population data, where currently it is found that around 50% of vapers are dual users. “

 To answer the question can you be smoke free in 6 months?

Yes, if that is your goal and you take responsibility for it.  Get the right advice, and then stick to the plan!