E-cigs are electronic devices that allow users to inhale nicotine vapor (“vaping”). They are largely unregulated in the United States. This new research will provide in-depth, longitudinal information, based on real-time reports, which will address key priorities that may inform regulatory and health agencies, including understanding the relations between vaping and:
1) Nicotine dependence;
2) Changes in rates of smoking conventional cigarettes;
3) Health outcomes such as evidence of exposure to carcinogens, as well as acute and long-term pulmonary health;
4) Attempts to quit smoking and the success of those attempts.
Specifically, the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) will identify and follow over time:
1) 150 participants who exclusively smoke cigarettes.
2) 250 participants who both smoke and vape.
Researchers will use smart phones and other tools to collect information on patterns of use of these products, levels of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, success quitting versus relapse, lifestyle factors, carcinogen exposure, and how one group of participants compares to the other over time.
“This research will allow us to examine the public health effects of smoking and vaping during this critical period of emerging policy discussions,” said UW-CTRI Associate Director of Research Dr. Megan Piper, co-principal investigator on the grant with UW-CTRI Director of Clinical Services Dr. Douglas Jorenby.
According to the World Health Organization 2014 E-Cigs Report, in 2014 there were 466 brands of e-cigs. In 2013, consumers spent $3 billion on e-cigs globally. Sales are forecasted to increase by a factor of 17 by 2030. In 2014, more teens used e-cigarettes than conventional cigarettes or any other tobacco product, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan.
According to the CDC, smoking causes myriad diseases and almost half a million deaths in the United States each year, including one-third of all cancer deaths. More than 7,000 Wisconsinites die each year from smoking, and many more suffer from diseases and healthcare expenses directly caused by it.