The role of e-cigarettes in tobacco control is the subject of debate.
To explore the potential impact of replacing tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes, researchers modelled a hypothetical situation in which most cigarette smokers in the United States switch to vaping over a ten-year period, leaving 5% of the population as smokers.
The researchers compared a status quo scenario with optimistic and pessimistic versions of the hypothetical scenario.
They found that compared with the status quo, replacing tobacco cigarettes would result in 1.6–6.6 million fewer premature deaths, in the pessimistic and optimistic scenarios, respectively, and 20.8–86.7 million fewer life-years lost over a ten-year period.
Reporting in Tobacco Control (online, 2 October 2017), the team said the results indicated there were substantial life-year gains from replacing tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes, and raised the possibility of a feasible strategy to eradicate cigarette use altogether