Thing is, these "proven methods" (gums/patches) are extremely ineffective - last time I checked it was something along the lines of 20-something% success rate. Vaping has been also pretty much proven at this point to be way less damaging than smoking at short-to-medium term.
I don't know about studies on effectiveness as a smoking cessation tool, but just the risk reduction alone makes it worth consideration, and would make it pretty damn dangerous and short-sighted to outright ban...
These do little to help the situation of current addicts - and actually make their lives miserable - but do a lot to help those who would have become smokers in the future. If the FDA can prevent people from starting smoking, then even if they do nothing to help people who are currently addicted the problem will eventually be solved. If they ineffectively help people to quit, but in so doing generate new addicts, the problem will persist.
It ought to come down to a data-driven question of quality-adjusted life years and results now vs. results later, but people are bad at shutting up and doing the math. It's easer to imagine the choice between helping one member out of a group of 5 old smokers who just can't seem to give up the habit he picked up in the 70s but might be helped by vaping, and the alternative of an anonymous high school kid who might pick up vaping this school year, eventually pick up smoking and become that old man someday in the 2060s. I'd rather help the kid.
Do you really think people will ever really stop smoking? I picked up smoking as a young adult cause parties and peers. My father is an MD, I fully knew the risks associated with smoking. Reducing the amount of people that want to pick it up through taxes and social stigma, sure, that obviously worked. We'd rather have a bunch of vapers than a bunch of smokers, though. For now, with the data available today, we can safely say it's way, way less impactful on one's health.
> high school kid who might pick up vaping this school year, eventually pick up smoking
The "gateway" argument is far-fetched. The smoking numbers are still going down as of today. How do we even know it's a gateway? The data is just not there to back this up. It's like saying we should ban pot in currently legal states cause they might all gateway to crack.