Vapes Reduce Tobacco Sales

Research has shown that the increased sale of ecig products replaces tobacco products, proving that vaping works as a substitute to smoking. The study, “Sales of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Cigarette Sales in the USA: A Trend Break Analysis”, was conducted by researchers at Pinney Associates and published for peer review in the Journal of Consumer Policy.

Pinney Associates says it has been “guiding pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare companies to success” for the last 25 years.

As a strong supporter of a tobacco harm reduction approach, it has “worked on research and policies to minimise the death and disease associated with smoking conventional cigarettes. Our efforts have included helping smokers gain greater access to nicotine replacement therapies by facilitating over-the-counter availability, as well as advocating for regulations and policies based on the continuum of risk for nicotine-containing products.

Pinney Associates says vapes are a lower-risk product which stands to aid smokers switching away from smoking and remaining tobacco-free, but it acknowledges that a great deal of scepticism exists – especially in the United States.

The company looked for a possible link between increased US ecig sales and reduced cigarette sales. Sales of electronic cigarettes from 2014-2016 had to be estimated as there is no recorded data, but the following three years came from a national sample of brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

Of note, actual cigarette sales for the period 2016-2019 was substantially overestimated when compared to the estimated forecasts, “indicating a substantial ‘cigarette shortfall’ in the post-period”.

The Pinney Associates research team conducted statistical analysis of the data to see if there is a provable link between the two. They said: “Higher [ecig] sales were significantly associated with a greater cigarette shortfall: for every additional per-capita [ecig] unit, cigarette sales were 1.4 packs-per-capita lower than expected. Error correction models which account for spurious correlation yielded similar results.

The results led the team to say that the findings support the idea that electronic cigarettes work as a substitute for smoking and cause the decline in tobacco sales, lowering smoking rates.

“Since [vapes] potentially pose lower risk than cigarettes, this general substitution effect suggests that risk-proportionate tobacco regulation could mitigate the tobacco-related health burden.”

The team says it is important for the authorities to remember that “cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of morbidity and premature mortality, contributing to 480,000 excess deaths in the USA annually”.

It adds that they should bear in mind the damage from smoking comes from the burning, not from the nicotine, which is why electronic cigarettes pose less risk.

“Behavioural studies demonstrate that many smokers use [vapes] to completely switch away from smoking. Randomised clinical trials show [vapes] to be more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine replacement therapy.”

The team also referred to research showing that US states which have increased the taxation on e-cigs has reduced their appeal and a higher rate in the sale of tobacco products has been observed afterwards.

They concluded that, in light of this new evidence, politicians should focus on making risk-proportionate tobacco regulations, remembering the benefits that vaping can deliver to the economy as well as individual health.