Cigarettes have been around for decades and have become synonymous with poor health and lung cancer, yet millions of people around the globe still smoke.
A relatively recent invention has been introduced to help curb this addition to smoking: the e-cig. According to a new research study, switching to this new way of smoking will allow smokers to live substantially longer.
Nearly half a million people die from cigarette smoking each year in the United States, and over 40,000 of these deaths are attributed to second-hand smoke alone. Despite these troubling statistics, an estimated 36.5 million Americans still smoke.
Consequences of cigarette smoking
Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, some of which are known cancer-causing agents. But the reason smokers continue to smoke is because of the nicotine, a highly addictive compound found in tobacco. However, nicotine is not the reason that cigarettes are so deadly—the danger comes from burning tobacco.
Known as vaping, e-cigarettes have been sweeping the nation. While it may appear like smoking a traditional cigarette, what is actually being exhaled is water vapor. The ingredients used in e-cigarettes typically consist of very few ingredients, being a mixture of water, nicotine, flavoring, and vegetable glycol.
A team of 10 researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center evaluated the potential harms from e-cigarettes, the amount of youth uptake, and the rate of cessation among others.
Switching helps gain more life years overall for smokers
Two projections were made, one optimistic and the other pessimistic. These projections were based on different scenarios in regard to relative harms of e-cigs compared to traditional cigarettes, as well as when a person started and stopped smoking, having then switched to e-cigarettes. They found that regardless of the type of projection, both scenarios still adverted premature death considerably and resulted in a larger number of life years saved.
The “pessimistic” scenario found that 1.6 million of these former cigarette smokers will have a combined 20.8 million more years of life, while the “optimistic” scenario calculated 6.6 million nicotine users who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes will live 86.7 million more life years combined.
“In addition, there would be tremendous health benefits including reduced disease disability to smokers, reduced pain and suffering, and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke. Even the gloomiest analysis shows a significant gain in years of life if nicotine is obtained from vaping instead of much more deadly amount of toxicants inhaled with cigarette smoke,” says the study’s lead author David Levy, Ph.D., professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi.