Freedom can come by way of finding an alternative to smoking. That’s not the only way to find freedom, but it sure is a good one. As we put the 4th of July in our rearview mirrors, we can still see all that remains from wishing America a big happy birthday. We’re not just talking about the last remnants of fireworks or the used up charcoal that powered yet another epic barbeque (we sincerely hope yours was as epic as ours here at ECCR!).
All of those things do make up what the 4th of July means, and what freedom means. That’s what comprises our experience over here as we celebrate our independence day every year on this date. Yet the 4th can also mean a great deal for folks who don’t live in our nation. Besides celebrating with and for their American friends, our independence day can symbolize key values that are universal for all people. The biggest of those is freedom. Some have it, some long for it, but all but the most tyrannical understand its value and how it is human nature to want as much freedom as possible.
By this count, it may seem silly to use such an important word and associate it with an alternative to smoking. It isn’t. For millions of smokers in America and across the world, their freedom isn’t complete. The perils of tobacco have a strong grip over them and freedom from the addiction to smoking could seem like a fantasy. So many have tried to achieve this freedom and so many have failed. That was before a real alternative to smoking arrived in the form of the electronic cigarette.
It took a couple years for the news to get out, but once Americans understood what the electronic cigarette was and how it could help, they came in droves. One could easily argue that the ecigarette has been the singularly biggest contributing force to the decline in cigarette smoking over the last 5 years. In fact, vaping has overtaken smoking in America among adults late last year. Talk about freedom from cigarettes? Americans got it!
Now the news coming out of Europe shows us that 15 million Europeans have also found this freedom and are embracing it.
Europeans Embrace Alternative to Smoking
15 million people is a lot, and 15 million that have found an alternative to smoking in ecigs seems even bigger. But it’s true. The latest study focused on vaping use in the European Union and found that freedom has come to the continent. More than 6 million Europeans have made the switch to electronic cigarettes entirely, and 9 million more have cut back on smoking due to ecigs. That’s an enormous amount of smokers that have finally found an answer to their smoking habit and it speaks volumes about the potential of vapor.
“These are probably the highest rates of smoking cessation and reduction ever observed in such a large population study,” said Konstantinos Farsalinos, who served as lead researcher on the study. Farsolinos is a cardiologist working in Athens at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center. He explained the impact of this alternative to smoking, saying “The European Union data show that the use of electronic cigarettes seems to have a positive impact on public health for two main reasons: 1) High smoking cessation and reduction rates are observed, and 2) electronic cigarette use is largely confined to smokers (current and former), with minimal use by nonsmokers.”
That second point has been a concern voiced in the anti-vaping crowd for years. The idea that vaping will attract a new wave of people who will then become smokers seemed implausible despite these scare tactics, and now we know that’s just what they were. We already wrote about this myth last year, but this study gives us even more ammo. Neuroscientist Jacques Le Houezec, who collaborated on the EU study, describes how “In nonsmokers we observed some experimentation with electronic cigarettes, but regular use is minimal.” He concludes that, “The concern that electronic cigarettes can be a gateway to smoking is largely rejected by our findings.”
So we know to a further extent how this newfound freedom for smokers isn’t impacting non-smokers. We also know that freedom has arrived for 15 million smokers in Europe. As we wrap up celebrating our own freedom as Americans, we can also thank electronic cigarettes for liberating us from tobacco. Across the Atlantic, we can look to our smoking brothers and celebrate together, because the alternative to smoking has already made a huge impact. It’s bound to do even more by the next 4th of July too.
We hope everyone had an awesome 4th full of fun and vapor!