Can Vaping Actually Help You Quit Smoking?

Can Vaping Actually Help You Quit Smoking?

In short, the studies say yes, they can!

30 April 2024 | Hannah Rubery

Can Vaping Actually Help You Quit Smoking? (Image)

There's been a cloud of contention hanging over the vaping industry. For some, it's the next best thing since sliced bread; for others, it's an ominous fog that conceals the potential harms lurking within. But what we're truly interested in is whether this cloud—E-cigarettes, specifically—has a silver lining for smokers trying to quit. The evidence speaks, or rather, it billows. We're carving out the truth behind vaping's identity as a possible tool for quitting cigarettes.

The Science of Vaping

Vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapour produced by an E-cigarette or similar device, enters the scene with a resolute proposition—it's less harmful than smoking. Nicotine in E-liquids is usually derived from tobacco, but it's the cocktail of chemicals present in combustible cigarettes that shoulders the lion's share of blame for the long list of health consequences.

Unlike traditional smoking, where combustion produces thousands of chemicals, vaping devices typically heat a liquid to create an aerosol that users inhale. While this aerosol still contains some harmful substances, they are generally found in much lower concentrations compared to cigarette smoke.

Studies suggest that the risks associated with vaping could be substantially lower. A comprehensive review in the UK noted significantly lower levels of toxicants and carcinogens in those who vaped than those who smoked cigarettes.

Can Vaping Help Smokers Quit?

Now, the big question—can vaping really assist in finally stubbing out the last cigarette? While some may dismiss it as a technological fad, the science resoundingly supports vaping as a tool with substantial quitting power.

Enter the Cochrane Review, which assessed 88 studies involving over 27,000 participants. The verdict? Vaping was more beneficial for smokers trying to quit than nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like patches or gum. While some limitations were noted, especially with many of the studies using older E-cigarettes and not the latest iterations that offer better nicotine delivery, as well as a need to understand long-term effects, the key message remains that vaping can help smokers quit at least for six months.

A recent trial in the UK where free vapes were handed out to smokers in A&E noted that it could save thousands of lives. The trial saw daily smokers given vape starter kits and offered advice with smoking habits assessed six months later. The results were promising enough that the University leading the trials suggested that the approach could result in more than 22,000 extra people quitting cigarettes a year.

Why the FDA Continues to Blow Smoke

Despite the mounting evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained a cautious—and some critics might say obstinate—stance. Acknowledging products like Vuse as a regulated means of vaping in the US after demonstrating its benefits to public health (the exact data was not provided in the press release but the answer is simple - data showing how it helps smokers quit), is a head-scratcher at best, a stalling tactic at worst.

Sifting through the smoke screen of misconceptions about vaping is vital. Balancing acknowledgement of potential risks, especially for non-smokers and youth, with recognition of its significant benefits for quitting is essential in fostering a balanced, informed public opinion.


As the conversation deepens and research ignites fresh insights, there emerges a compelling call to action. This isn't merely a matter of analyzing data; it's about recognizing the human element in the quest. The integration of vaping as a legitimate option for smoking cessation is rooted in a shared narrative—of individuals reimagining their bond with nicotine.

Although further long-term research on vaping's effects is necessary, it's important to acknowledge the substantial body of evidence already indicating its effectiveness as a quit-smoking aid. Have you found vaping helpful in quitting smoking? Share your experiences in the comments below.