People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, finds a large University College London survey of smokers in England. The results were adjusted for a wide range of factors that might influence success at quitting, including age, nicotine dependence, previous quit attempts, and whether quitting was gradual or abrupt.
The Evidence: The study, published in Addiction, surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support. 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.
“Some public health experts have expressed concern that widespread use of e-cigarettes could ‘re-normalise’ smoking. However, we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it. Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is negligible.”
My Take: Nice to hear e-cigarettes help people to quit. We have to monitor to make sure that smoking behavior is not re-normalized from traditional cigarettes to long-term use of e-cigarettes (emerging data suggests that e-cigs may have carcinogens associated with them), but for a short-term means to quit, e-cigs look promising. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.
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Reference: Brown, Beard, Kotz, Michie & West. Real-world effectiveness of e-cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross-sectional population study. Addiction, May 2014; University College London. “E-cigarette use for quitting smoking associated with improved success rates.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520100422.htm>.