A Magic Bullet? The Potential Impact of E-Cigarettes on the Toll of Cigarette Smoking

E-cigarettes hold the potential to reduce cigarette smoking’s enormous toll. By itself, however, tobacco harm reduction, as embodied in vaping, is no magic bullet. A recent study reported on predicted scenarios which resulted in millions of individuals quitting smoking due to vaping. On average, vaping-induced quitters gain an extra 1.2–2.0 years of life compared to smokers who quit without vaping. The impact of vaping is greatest when it most helps smokers who otherwise have the greatest difficulty quitting smoking.

Vaping is highly likely to reduce smoking-produced mortality. Still, vaping is not “the” answer to the public health crisis created by smoking. Rather, it may well be a tool to add to the armamentarium of effective tobacco control measures.Going forward, tobacco control will require vigilant application of the evidence-based measures that have brought us so much success in combatting smoking. It will require, as well, the search for and adoption of novel means of attacking the remaining problem. 

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