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As the long battle to get vaping recognized as a safe alternative to smoking continues, one expert has come forth to explain why vaping could save lives.

In a Wall Street Journal article posted earlier this week, Professor Jed E. Rose laid out how vaping reduces and could potentially eliminate smoking altogether. And as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, as well as the director of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation, he’s in a position to know.

The one thing that Rose is quick to point out is that the long-term effects of vaping have yet to be fully investigated, as it will take at least five to ten years of research to fully understand how vaping will affect the human body. However, there is a need right now to accept all forms of smoking cessation alternatives, even if they are relatively new.

Rose also points out that the U.S. Surgeon General and other medical experts have linked smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer and emphysema, to the combustion products present in the smoke and not to nicotine, which is present in both conventional cigarettes and vaping products.

While nicotine is an addictive substance, it is not the underlying cause, or even a contributing cause, of smoking-related diseases. Because of this, nicotine-based cessation tools, such as vaping, have been one of the most effective ways of getting smokers to quit.

For comparison, think of the statistics of smokers who try to quit on their own. These smokers have less than a 5 percent chance of long-term success and only a ten percent chance with the help of a medical provider.

Because vaping products only contain nicotine and none of the harmful carcinogens that are found in conventional cigarettes, this makes vaping one of the easiest ways to quit. Since smokers can control their nicotine dosage, as well as continue the habitual behaviors of smoking, it makes lowering their nicotine intake over time — reducing any withdrawal symptoms — easier to manage.

Vaping as a cessation tool for quitting smoking has been acknowledged by various organizations who do credible research, such as the U.K. Center for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and the University of Geneva’s Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine. Even the British government’s authority that regulates drugs has approved vaping products as a way to quit smoking.

Exaggerated studies have blinded many to the truth that vaping can save lives. Rose explains this by highlighting several troubling research reports — such as the one that claims vaping products produce toxic levels of formaldehyde — which we have already debunked on this site.

But the standard of a proper scientific method for showing the effectiveness of a product has always been the randomized clinical trial, and two such trials as of this writing have proven the efficacy of vaping for smokers who are trying to quit.

With a billion deaths attributed to smoking estimated by the World Health Organization, it is time for the public and the government to listen to experts like Dr. Rose. Vaping is not harming smokers — it’s saving lives.