Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

E-cigarettes help more smokers quit than patches and gum, study finds

E-cigarettes help more smokers quit than patches and gum, study finds

A trial found 18 percent of smokers who used them to quit remained smoke-free after a year, compared with 9.9 percent of those using nicotine-replacement treatments.

Dunja Przulj said: 'The UK specialist stop smoking services will now be more likely to include e-cigarettes among their treatment options, and health professionals will feel more comfortable in recommending e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking intervention.

"This is now likely to change".

Those approved therapies, as well as drugs such as bupropion, have higher effectiveness rates than the new study suggested, and much more is known about their side effects, said Belinda Borrelli, a Boston University researcher who co-wrote the editorial.

"By removing cigarette users at the beginning, this design may overlook youth who started with e-cigarettes and already made the transition to cigarette smoking", she said. The starter pack contained a second-generation refillable e-cigarette with one bottle of nicotine e-liquid, plus a recommendation to purchase further e-liquids of the flavour and strength of their choice.

Prior e-cigarette use was associated with a more than four-fold greater risk of ever smoking cigarettes and three-fold greater risk of current cigarette use in the prospective cohort study.

At the same time, there have been conflicting studies on whether e-cigarettes actually help smokers kick the habit.

And of those who did kick the habit, 80 per cent were left hooked on e-cigarettes instead, which raises concerns about the impact of long-term vaping.

But he added: 'Given that ecigs may cause some harm when used over many years I would encourage users to think of them as a stop-gap, but they are far better than smoking - ex-smokers should not stop using them if they are anxious they may go back to cigarettes'.

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Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Lead, Public Health England, said: "This landmark research shows that switching to an e-cigarette can be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, especially when combined with face-to-face support". After all, not only are e-cigarettes helping people quit, they are 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Both groups also participated in "behavioral support" sessions.

Several recent studies have raised the alarm about an elevated risk of smoking initiation among teen e-cigarette users, including a 2017 meta-analysis that found that teens and young adults who used e-cigarettes had more than three times the odds of later cigarette use and more than four times the odds of current cigarette smoking.

Vaping skeptics question the efficacy of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, often citing the lack of clinical trials proving a benefit to smokers.

E-cigarettes are nearly twice more effective at helping smokers to quit than traditional methods, according to new research.

The researchers added that the reasons e-cigarettes were found to be more effective could be because of better tailoring of nicotine dose. Juul's rapid popularity among teens in the USA -which has sparked fears that it could lead more young people to pick up tobacco smoking and reverse the success we've seen with lowering teen smoking rates - might explain the more reluctant attitude of doctors in the enthusiastically embrace e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.

The authors of the study are continuing to follow the trial participants, and it will be interesting to see how many in the vaping and NRT groups relapse to smoking, and how many who were still smoking at the one-year mark quit later.

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first trial to compare the efficacy of licensed quitting aids with e-cigarettes, which now do not have license for medical use.

The results were more startling when researchers compared low-risk kids to those more likely to take up smoking.

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