Smoking Population in the US and EU is Softening Not Hardening

Smokeless tobacco and, more recently, e-cigarettes have been promoted as a harm reduction strategy for smokers who are “unable or unwilling to quit.” The strategy, embraced by both industry and some public health advocates, is based on the assumption that as smoking declines overall, only those who cannot quit will remain.  A new study by tobacco control researchers Margaret Kulik, PhD and Stanton A. Glantz, PhD of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, supports the opposite of the initial presumption.  Contrary to the prevailing assumptions, as the fraction of the population that smoked declined, the remaining smokers actually smoked less and were more likely to quit than to stick with it.  The co-authors said their findings challenge the need to promote new forms of nicotine delivery, such as e-cigarettes, since the smoking population continues to quit smoking as a result of proven policies and interventions.  Click here to read the full article and supplemental text, published online in Tobacco Control, June 24, 2015.