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Vaping To Quit Smoking. Will The FDA Ever Approve?

By Matt McConnell

Tuesday November 15, 2016
using vapes to quit smoking cigarettes
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Using vaping to quit smoking? Is this a viable means of getting away from the deadly harms of burning tobacco and inhaling toxic smoke? No one can say for certain. Literally, we are not allowed to say anything one way or the other! The FDA has determined that there is no evidence to support any claim that electronic cigarettes help smokers quit. There are conflicting studies on the issue. Indeed, we do need additional study to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

The FDA received thousands and thousands of personal testimonials during the commenting period while they were pondering the fate of electronic cigarettes. How much, if any, weight was given to these solicited testimonials of first hand experience is unknown although given the outcome of regulation it would seem that most of these submissions were discounted.

There have been studies that suggest that vaping leads to smoking or inhibits the ability to quit. We have talked about some of the creative data dredging that occurred in order to generate these results. For example, in one study the researchers excluded anyone that had quit smoking with vaping and tracked only dual users. And they never talk about the types of electronic cigarettes being used which, if they knew better, they would understand is a huge part of the equation.

Studying The Using Vaping To Quit Smoking

comparing electronic cigarettes to cigarettes to see if you can stop smoking with vaping

The gold standard relied on by science to determine health impacts is the randomized trial process. Studying vaping to quit smoking through a randomized trial comes with its own set of problems. A randomized trial requires long term tracking of willing participants. If people drop out of these studies and no longer continue to report, then the sample size is decreased and the results become less representative of reality.

So who is likely to drop out of these randomized trials. Two groups of people are most likely to drop out. Those that have quit smoking and no longer feel any need or personal interest in continuing. Second, those that have gone back to cigarettes and are not eager to report what they perceive as a personal failure. Because of this, in my opinion, the FDA and others should be paying more attention to volunteered personal testimonials.

There there is the issue of bias electronic cigarette studies. This goes both ways but we have to be honest and acknowledge that negative stories will always get more headlines and draw more attention to the study. Getting real answers her is no easy task. No wonder it is taking so long! As a result, many smokers are still confused as to whether or not quitting smoking with vaping is a viable option.

The Type Of Electronic Cigarette Is Being Ignored

One thing that must change as soon as possible is that serious researchers need to reach out and talk to some real live vapers. Researchers, for the most part, have been operating in a bubble. They view one electronic cigarette as the same as another. This is a huge mistake. The best electronic cigarettes perform amazingly while there are cheap ecigs that you shouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole! That’s why ECCR exists, to help adult tobacco consumers identify the ecigs that they are going to enjoy and avoid the ones that will leave you disappointed. Researchers need to talk to vapers and find out which ecigs they should be testing!

Researchers who are trying to figure out is ecigs are a safer alternative and if people can use vaping to stop smoking need to also understand where they are getting e-liquid from. There are huge discrepancies out there in terms of e-liquid quality.

We saw this unfold horribly late last year when the news broke about diacetyl in ecig vapor which lead to fears about popcorn lung vaping. Now, to be clear, no one has contracted popcorn lung from vaping and there is a lot more diacetyl in cigarette smoke than in any e-liquid. But the truth is that there are exceptional e-liquid manufacturers out there who make e-liquid with no diacetyl or other harmful additives. Companies like Halo, Apollo and VaporFi use only high quality ingredients and blend e-liquids in professional lab facilities.

Learn More About E-Liquids And E-Juice Here

A Vape To Quit Smoking Exists In UK

using vaping to quit smoking cigarettes

Meet E-Voke. There is nothing particularly special about this ecig other than it has a pedigree. It has been decalared as a vape to quit smoking. E-Voke has been approved in the UK as a smoking cessation device. That’s tight, the E-Voke, a familiar two-piece electronic cigarette design, is not considered to be a “medicine” in the UK. E-Voke is a cigalike style electronic cigarette owned by BAT, British American Tobacco.

The Medicines And Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the MHRA, has awarded a license to BAT to market E-Voke as a smoking cessation aid. Physicians can prescribe E-Voke electronic cigarettes to smokers. The NHS in England can even give them away for free. The MHRA has invited additional companies to submit their products to go through the same evaluation to gain the same status. Perhaps we will begin to see more e-cig products that are verified to claim that you use use vaping to quit smoking in the UK. Very promising and a productive strategy to work toward reducing tobacco harm.

You can see in the image above that the E-Voke looks a lot like the Vuse electronic cigarette. Similar packaging and function. Will RJ Reynolds follow the path of BAT in England and try to have the Vuse regarded as a smoking cessation device? And if they do what will that mean for other electronic cigarettes? Will other e-cigarette makers be able to advise people to stop smoking and start vaping? Because of the similarity of the devices, you would think that it would be relativley easy for other electronic cigarette manufacturers to follow the same path. Of course the climate toward e-cigs is much more negative in the US so all we can do is speculate.

Will The FDA Ever Confirm Using Vaping To Quit Smoking?

ask the fda about ecig regulations

Will the FDA ever recommend using vaping to quit smoking? That is very hard to say. The indicators right now do not look good. The regulations that the FDA has imposed on the vapor industry are very harsh and will likely stifle the progress of vapor technology as well as limit access for adult tobacco consumers. Some of this, probably a large part, can be traced to the FDAs probably discomfort with how the electronic cigarette industry evolved.

Smoking cessation products have been limited to the exclusive realm of Big Pharma. There has been a known and familiar procedure that smoking cessation products take to market. They go through the bureaucratic hoops. Vaping has not been like that. Vaping has been a grass roots movement orchestrated and promoted by independent American entrepreneurs, not giant corporations.

One way to put it would be that the FDA is used to innovation coming from Dr. Fancy Science guy of X University or corporation Y. They are not used to an innovation being marketed by Jane and John Q of Any City USA who started a vape brand. They are trying too re-assert control and resume the normal ways of doing business. The FDA can do this because currently electronic cigarettes are considered to be a tobacco product.

Confirming That You Can Stop Smoking With Vaping Will Take Deep Pockets

If we follow the E-Voke model, it will take a very powerful and wealthy interest to establish a vaping product as a sanctioned smoking alternative for smoking cessation. Of course right now no company in the US is allowed to sell any electronic cigarette device with any official claim that it will help you stop smoking with vaping. Someone has to go first.

Will it be RJ Reynolds? Will they pay the millions of dollars required to establish that you can quit with vaping? Or will it be Altria be the first to go through the hoops? Will they be able to cite the example of the E-Voke? Frankly, they should be able to use the same data that BAT used to get E-Voke that distinction. But we just don’t know.

At some point we will see an electronic cigarette that is approved as a smoking cessation device in the United States. It may be a Big Pharma or Big Tobacco product, in fact it probably will be. Regardless, that will hopefully open the door for other vapor products as well.

Quitting Smoking With Vaping

how to quit smoking with electronic cigarettes and vaping

For many of you reading this the idea of quitting smoking with vaping is not that controversial. You may have already done it! At the end of the day, there are no widely accepted studies that verify this claim. There are some composite studies that peopl have used vaping to quit smoking. Many of the positive studies are out of the UK and Europe. For example a University College London vaping study found that using vaping to quit smoking was better than other cessation methods. Let’s touch on a couple of other studies and surveys.

The journal “Addiction” has been engaging in a massive vaping survey tracking 27,000 smokers and vapers. They have determined that as many as 15 million Europeans have quit smoking with vaping. Does this mean that you should stop smoking and start vaping? That’s up to you. But what was published in “Addiction” found that 35% of respondent said vaping helped them quit, and 32% said vaping helped them cut back on smoking.

Recently, the international Cochrane Review completed a vast analysis and they too determined that quitting smoking with vaping is a viable option for cigarette smokers. The evidence seems to be building in favor of advising smokers to stop smoking and start vaping! In fact, quit smoking and start vaping is now recommended in England and France as per the government health agencies of each respective country. Of course, this has not yet been advised for American smokers by any regulatory health agency.

How To Quit Smoking And Start Vaping

We can’t advise you to quit smoking and start vaping. What we can do is advise you on how to find an ideal vapor product that will make vaping as enjoyable as possible. This comes down to the most glaring and obvious weakness in all vaping research, for, con or neutral. The most glaring weakness a lack of vaping knowledge.

I’ll give you an obvious example right off the bat. Oftentimes we see headlines claiming that ecigs produce toxins. Typically we are talking about small amounts of toxins and no responsible researcher or regulator is saying that ecigs are as bad as tobacco. But we do see some studies claim that vaping creates toxins. Typically, they achieve these results by using ecig in a way that no human vaper ever would. On top of that, they may be using a low quality vape hardware product in conjunction with a bad e-liquid product. We’ve covered that.

So what they do is generate vapor using extreme conditions. Put simply, they overheat the coils with excessive voltage and burn the e-liuqid. Now, if you burn anything it will create toxins. If you inhale burnt vapor, you will notice and you will not enjoy it. At all.

So instead of thinking about how to quit smoking and start vaping, adult tobacco consumers should focus on how to get the most out of their vapor experience.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Vapor Experience

The real conversation that we can have is to talk about how to get the most out of your vaping experience. That all starts with choosing the right e-cig. Most of the electronic cigarettes that you probably see tend to be very large vape mods that produce enormous vapor clouds. There are many terrific, powerful mods to choose from. Some of those mods can be very complicated to operate.

If you go to a vape shop, they will probably recommend that you buy one of these powerful, complex mods and if that suits you, great. But if you are looking for something simpler, then there are options available. You don’t have to be limited in your choices.

  1. Choose the right ecig. For people who like to keep is convenient and simple, go with a cigalike. For people who want more vapor but still relatively hassle free, a basic vape mod is a good choice. Those of you who are all in for advanced vaping and producing massive vapor clouds, a sub ohm or temperature control mod might be what you are looking for.
  2. Choose the right e-liquid. Look for e-liquids that are made in a professional lab setting. Stick with the known national brands that offer full transparency and publish independent lab reports of their e-liquids. If they don’t have lab reports, look for a brand that does. Recommended: Halo, VaporFi, Apollo, Black Note.
  3. If you are on a budget, always think about the long term costs. You can get good cheap vapes, especially when you buy online. But always try and keep long term costs in mind. For example, plan on buying new cartridges and coils monthly so pay attention to how much those things cost. That’s where you can really save a bundle in the long run.
  4. If you get an advanced mod, consider getting a device from an American e-cigarette brand. These bands are not carried by vape shops and they do tend to be a bit more expensive but the value is that you will be dealing direct with the company. You will have better access to warranties and customer service.
  5. There are so many sub-ohm tanks, clearomizers, RDAs etc. Picking the best vape tanks for your particular vaping preferences can be a chore. Always take a not of the coil prices and make sure you are getting authentic product. Avoid clones and counterfeits.

Choosing The Right Ecig

Choosing the right ecig all comes down to personal choice. While most ecig review and news sites no longer even talk about cigalike style electronic cigarettes, at ECCR we feel that cigalikes continue to play an important role in vaping. A cigalike is the simplest and easiest to use design. It does not produce as much vapor as an advanced mod, but a good quality cigalike will produce a satisfying vapor.

The cigalike is very familiar in form. To use one, simply attach a cartridge to a battery and start vaping. Check out our electronic cigarette review of our top rated cigalike here.

Again, this is about focusing on the most enjoyable vapor experience possible. The fight over whether or not you can use vaping to quit smoking will rage on with no end in sight. But as an adult tobacco consumer with an interest in vapor, keep your focus on quality and performance. Whether or not vaping is bad for you is a fight for another time and place. Right now we just want to identify how you can most enjoy vaping.

Looking For More Vapor

should i stop smoking and start vaping

If you are looking for more vapor, you may be interested in a mod and tank device. These will have a more powerful battery and a refillable tank that you will manually put your chosen e-liquid into. The complexity of mods varies greatly. For example the Halo Triton 2 is a very easy to use mod that will work as both a DL and MTL vape device. DL means direct lung inhale whereas mouth to lung is when you draw the vapor into your mouth and then inhale. DL vaping is generally how you vape when using a sub ohm vape device.

For more information about Sub Ohm vaping click here.

So you can see vaping can get very complicated very quickly! Many vapers enjoy building their own atomizer coils as well. The point is that vaping is a very broad category of products and devices. It can be overwhelming. You can always each out to us and ask any question that you may have. We will do our best to help you make sense of it all.

You might also want to take a look at our vaping guide for beginners here.

The Last Word On Vaping And Smoking

Using vaping to quit smoking is currently a controversial subject. What we do know is that there is a big difference between smoke and vapor. We also know that you should pursue quitting smoking by any means possible. The benefits of quitting smoking will make every effort expended worthwhile.

Do you reduce smoking risk when switching from smoke to vapor? Some say yes and some say no. The official position in the United States is that there is no basis to make that claim. They have said clearly that manufacturers cannot claim that you can use vaping to quit smoking. By the same token, the FDA has left the door open to the possibility that vaping can help people quit smoking and may be a reduced risk product. So, that is why there is no clear answer right now! We don’t have an answer to give other than the official position. Will the FDA ever recognize vaping as a way to quit smoking? Probably, but not in the immediate future.

This is a ball that is in your court. There is a lot of pro and con data out there about using vaping to quit smoking. You can read the studies from Europe or look up Dr. Konstatin Farasolinos and his work. Have a look at some of the personal vaping testimonials submitted to the FDA. Ultimately, it will all boil back to what do you think?

In the meantime, if you are an adult tobacco consumer with an interest in vaping, we will be here to help guide you to the best available products so that you can truly enjoy vaping. Your comments, suggestions and testimonials are always welcome here.

Team ECCR

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