Please accept my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!
The below conclusion is very applicable for Swedish Style Low Nitrosamine Smokeless Tobacco aka. “Snus”. 300,000 Swedes at last check (probably considerably more today) are Ex-smokers and quote Snus as their method of becoming ex-smokers. The quotient of 0.4 here does not have any impact on the 800,000 or so only snus users. Only if we were to calculate how many of these snus users would have become smokers had snus not been available on the Swedish Market (i e had been banned when Sweden joined the EU) would we get a better estimate of already saved lives in Sweden thanks to the availability of snus.
It is interesting to put this number in perspective: Already saved lives minimum in Sweden compares to 150 years of total road death toll in Sweden.
Conclusions (kind regards to Professor Phillips for making these calculations available)
This back-of-the-envelope estimate is clearly rough, but it is obviously better than any estimate made without the aid of actual calculations. Even allowing for the inherent uncertainty in the calculation, if we accept as approximately correct the “50% of smokers will die from it” starting point, it is safe to conclude that more than 10,000 Americans are alive today thanks to e-cigarettes, in addition to similar numbers in the UK and in the rest of Europe. A greater number still have already been saved (they would still have died from smoking if they had quit today) even though they would not have died yet.
In the long run, many more of those who have switched will avoid dying from smoking. We can estimate the total to be in the order of 40% of them. But there is something rather more compelling about the number already saved: It is theoretically possible that a miracle will occur and most current smokers will quit without e-cigarettes or other low-risk substitutes. In that case, the number eventually saved thanks to switching would be lower than the 40% because many would eventually be saved by quitting by other means. But even if that unlikely even occurs, it will be too late for many who could have been saved by switching. Thus, waiting for that miracle, rather than embracing the immediate promise of tobacco harm reduction, would be a deadly mistake. In particular, we can conservatively estimate that between 10,000 and 20,000 Americans who get to ring in New Years Day 2015 would not have lived to see that day were it not for e-cigarettes.
If you are interested in following the whole calculation then please follow this link: