Geekbar AD
image of a cigarette that has been burnt to the filter


Study shows vapers are more resilient to smoking relapses than those who don’t vape

By Leo Forfar 6th December 2018 2 Mins


Researchers have found some key advantages to vaping that keep the strongest temptations of old smoking habits at bay.

New research conducted at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School has suggested that vapers are less prone to smoking relapses than non-vapers, even when they have the odd cigarette.

The project, published via Drug and Alcohol Review, interviewed 40 people who had successfully stopped smoking by using e-cigarettes.

Roughly half of the subjects reported slip ups and occasional bouts of dual use.

However, this particular study noted that for vapers, the difference is partially mental: vapers view smoking relapses differently to non-vapers. Those that relapsed exhibited less stress and defeatism, and were less likely to let it adversely affect their willpower.

Project lead, Dr Caitlin Notley said:

“In the past – a brief smoking lapse would almost always lead to a full relapse, and people would usually feel like a failure for slipping up. But this was before people started switching to vaping. The difference is that, for some vapers, the odd cigarette was thought of as being ‘allowed’. For others, an unintentional cigarette made them even more determined to maintain abstinence in future. Either way, it didn’t necessarily lead to a full relapse back into smoking.”

Research into smoking cessation and nicotine replacement covers both physical and mental factors.

In a July 2018  study into smoking relapses, Dr Notley found that former smokers crave a lost sense of social identity.

This new research found that developing a habit of e-cigarette use provides strong substitutes for previously lost pleasures in smoking that go beyond mere nicotine ingestion.

Nicotine isn’t the only thing being replaced, but behaviors and mental cues triggered by the old habit.

“E-cigarettes are the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK. Our previous research has shown that e-cigarettes are really important for helping people stay smoke free – by substituting the physical, psychological and social aspects of smoking.”

Dr Notley also mentioned how the inherent qualities of vaping do a good job drawing a would-be lapsed smoker away from their old temptations.

“Because vaping is a more pleasurable alternative, our research found that a full relapse into smoking isn’t inevitable when people find themselves having the odd cigarette.”



About this author

Leo Forfar