Is vaping as addictive as smoking? We have new evidence that is adding to our ability to come closer to a definitive, incontrovertible conclusion. The latest Path study is showing us that vaping is not as addictive as smoking. This is actually not surprising and I will elaborate on that shortly. But first let me give you the details about the PATH electronic cigarette use study. Let’s get right into it.
What is PATH? I’m glad you asked. PATH stands for the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health. PATH is an ongoing survey of tobacco usage among 30,000 plus adults and young people. Researchers have been eagerly anticipating the current results of the survey in order to make addition determinations about what is going on with smoking and electronic cigarettes in the United States.
Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine analyzed the responses in the most recent PATH survey. First a quick overview of the numbers. 95% of the respondents that use tobacco products were smokers and 5% were vapers. Of the vapers, 93% were former smokers. That should reassure people who believe that vaping leads to smoking. Once again we see that non-smokers are not taking up vaping in any great number. Rather vapers are former smokers.
Is Vaping As Addictive As Smoking?
The PATH survey as analyzed by the Penn State College of Medicine identified several factors leading to the conclusion that vaping is not as addictive as smoking. For example, after waking up, vapers wait longer before that first vape of the day. Smokers tend to need that first cigarette as soon as possible after waking.
Vapers are less likely to consider themselves as addicted and also less likely to have strong cravings. Vapers are less likely to find it difficult to refrain from using their electronic cigarette in restricted places. These findings were also published in Preventive Medicine.
Is vaping as addictive as smoking? The Penn State study’s lead author was led to conclude that the answer to that question is no. This is the latest evidence that supports this theory. The body of evidence that shows vaping may be an ally in the fight to reduce tobacco harm continues to grow.
Is Nicotine Bad For You?
The question of whether or not nicotine is bad for you is being debated by experts. There have been many positive indicators that nicotine has medical benefits for some. Be that as it may, we do know that nicotine is not appropriate for children. Nicotine can adversely impact a developing brain. We don’t want our kids being exposed to or using nicotine or other stimulants for that matter. The real question for our purpose is whether or not nicotine is addictive.
Like any stimulant, it does appear to have some addictive properties. Believe it or not there is some debate about how addictive nicotine is. A Vanderbilt study led by Dr. Paul Newhouse found that nicotine in and of itself is not addictive. What we do know is that there is more than nicotine in a cigarette that is addictive.
More Than Nicotine Causes Cigarette Addiction
For example, cigarette tobacco is treated with a number of terrible additives. Cigarette additives include ammonia which accelerates nicotine absorption into the brain. Cigarette additives also include chemical to make the nicotine burn faster so you smoke more. That’s a part of the overall equation of nicotine addiction. Perhaps those powerful nicotine withdrawal symptoms are about more than just nicotine.
In fact, there is a lot more to this story and it is not good. A little background and context for you. You think we know everything about what’s in cigarette smoke? The answer is no we don’t. In fact, scientists now claim that there is more addictive chemicals in cigarette smoke than just nicotine. But we don’t know what it is. Yet. How can this be? How can we not now?
Here’s something interesting. When I started writing about tobacco and electronic cigarettes about six years ago, the general consensus was that there were 4,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke. Shortly after that, scientists then detected 5,000 different chemicals in cigarette smoke. Now the current estimation based on new detection methods is that there are 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke! We are always learning more about smoking. And what we are continuing to learn is looking worse and worse all the time.
Nicotine In Cigarettes
We know how much nicotine is in a cigarette. The amount varies from 6 mg to 20 mg. The average is about 12 mg. In any case, you absorb about 1 mg of nicotine per cigarette. The nicotine in cigarettes is the same as the nicotine in electronic cigarettes. Vaping is regarded as a tobacco product and another way for adult consumers to access that nicotine. But vaping does not appear to have the other as yet unidentified potentially addictive chemical/s in cigarettes. Perhaps this could explain why vaping is not as addictive as smoking.
We will continue to learn more going forward. The PATH survey is an ongoing, long-term tracking of adult tobacco consumers. I want to applaud the researchers for the work they are doing. They are starting to ask better questions in these surveys so we can get real answers. That was not always the case. We are getting to the truth.
The alarmists say that electronic cigarettes are a new way to hook a new generation on nicotine. The alarmists say that electronic cigarettes lead to smoking. Well the data shows that teen smoking is at all-time lows and teen vaping is on the decline. The alarmists have been proven wrong time and time again. Maybe its time we stop listening to the alarmists and let ourselves be informed by facts and evidence.