Quitting smoking: how to improve your health and well-being?

Adult smokers who switch to e-cigarettes are more likely to improve their health and well-being, according to a new study from the University of Washington.

The study tracked the health and social functioning of smokers at two stages of adulthood, at age 30 and then at age 39. By age 39, about one-third of smokers had switched to vaping in part or in whole. According to the study, this group reported better physical health, more exercise and more active social engagement. “Despite the obvious risks to nonsmokers, e-cigarettes have the potential to play a health-promoting role in the lives of smokers,” said Marina Epstein, co-author of the study and a researcher in the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington School of Social Work. Because e-cigarettes are often perceived as a “healthier” alternative, the researchers wanted to examine the behavior of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes in part or in whole as they approach midlife. Of the 156 study participants, 64% smoked only combustible cigarettes at age 39, 28% smoked and vaped, and 8% vaped only. Survey results showed that more frequent vaping – compared with smoking – was associated with better physical health, more exercise, more active social engagement and higher socioeconomic status. “Although the study cannot demonstrate a causal relationship, we believe that because e-cigarettes are less stigmatized, less odorous, and less physically dangerous, they may increase opportunities for health promotion among smokers.

For the authors, this does not mean that vaping is healthy, they point out, but that for people who already smoke – and are unable to quit – it may be associated with other healthy habits.

Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes may adopt other healthy routines. Washington University News. K. Eckart. May 12, 2022.

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