E-Cigarette Use May Increase Risk of Relapse Among Ex-Smokers, Study Warns

Despite the fact that e-cigarettes have been aggressively promoted as a way for smokers to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, a new study suggests that vaping may actually increase the risk of relapse among former smokers who have already quit smoking. According to this new research, published just last week in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, ex-smokers who tried vaping after having stopped the use of tobacco cigarettes more than a year prior were four times more likely to return to smoking and ex-smokers who had quit within the previous year were 63% more likely to resume the habit. The risk of cigarette smoking relapse is just one of many potential side effects that have been linked to popular e-cigarette brands like JUUL, which are heavily marketed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes as well as a way to quit smoking. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of JUUL or another brand of e-cigarette, contact a knowledgeable e-cigarette injury lawyer today to discuss your legal options.

Cigarette Smoking Relapse with E-Cig Use

In order to examine the potential link between e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking relapse, researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a longitudinal cohort study in the United States using data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATH), which took place between 2013 and 2018. The study participants were 2,273 former cigarette smokers over the age of 18 who reported no current tobacco use. They were divided into two separate groups: the first group consisted of long-term former cigarette smokers who last smoked more than one year previously and the second group consisted of recent former cigarette smokers who had quit within the previous year.

The primary objective of the e-cigarette study was to understand the potential risk of cigarette smoking relapse with the use of e-cigarette devices, in order to inform healthcare professionals and improve health outcomes. According to the study authors, “Relapse to smoking among former smokers is a serious clinical concern, and use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has been proposed as a new risk factor for relapse.” In their study, the researchers found that “cigarette smoking relapse among former cigarette smokers was higher among those who used electronic nicotine delivery systems or other tobacco products compared with those who did not.” Furthermore, the study authors found that the use of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products was associated with a significant risk of cigarette smoking relapse among both recent former smokers and long-term former smokers.

“Use of ENDS Products Should be Discouraged” Among Former Smokers

Quitting combustible cigarettes can be extremely difficult, especially for long-term smokers, and it is important to understand the role e-cigarettes may play in cigarette smoking relapse, especially since they have been marketed as a smoking cessation aid. Based on their findings in this study, the researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommend that “For clinicians treating former smokers who have successfully quit all nicotine products, the implications are that use of ENDS products should be discouraged, just as use of all other tobacco products is discouraged.” Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many contain heavy doses of nicotine, the addictive drug in combustible cigarettes, and other substances that can harm the body, including cancer-causing chemicals. Even some e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine-free have been found to contain nicotine.

FDA Sends Warning Letter to JUUL for False Advertising

You may have seen advertisements on the Internet claiming that e-cigarettes are safe or a good way to quit smoking, but those claims have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor have e-cigarettes been FDA-approved as a smoking cessation aid. In fact, the FDA sent a warning letter to the maker of the widely used e-cigarette brand JUUL in September, indicating that the company had “engaged in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, in which JUUL explicitly and/or implicitly has represented that JUUL products are free of a substance, have a reduced level of or exposure to a substance, and/or that JUUL products present a lower risk of tobacco-related disease or are less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products.” According to the agency, a JUUL representative speaking with students at a school presentation claimed that JUUL e-cigarettes were “much safer than cigarettes” and stated that a student “[…] should mention JUUL to his [nicotine-addicted] friend […] because that’s a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes, and it would be better for the kid to use.”

Contact an E-Cigarette Injury Attorney for Help

JUUL vape pens and other popular e-cigarette devices have been linked to a host of adverse health effects, one of the most notable being nicotine addiction, and because e-cigarettes have been aggressively marketed to youth, many teens and young adults in the United States are now facing a lifelong nicotine addiction from e-cigarette use. If you are struggling with a nicotine addiction from JUUL or another addictive e-cigarette brand, or if a loved one returned to smoking combustible cigarettes as a result of vaping, contact an experienced e-cigarette injury lawyer as soon as possible to find out if you may be eligible for compensation from the e-cigarette device manufacturer. E-cigarette use among youth and young adults has increased considerably in recent years and many regular users have no idea what risks the devices can pose for their health.