Vaping may be more effective to help smokers quit cigarettes over nicotine gums and patches, according to a new study. E-cigarettes, however, "provided greater satisfaction and were rated as more helpful to refrain from smoking than nicotine-replacement products", the study's authors wrote. People using NRT were more likely to report feeling sick (37.9% compared to 31.3% of e-cigarette users) while e-cigarette users were more likely to report throat or mouth irritation (65.3% compared to 51.2% of NRT users).
"Although a large number of smokers report that they have quit smoking successfully with the help of e-cigarettes, health professionals have been reluctant to recommend their use because of the lack of clear evidence from randomised controlled trials". Some full-time vapers spent longer than a year transitioning to e-cigarettes. The finding that e-cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as NRTs is similar to the results of a survey that health psychologist Robert West and his colleagues conducted several years ago. The results, reported yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine, should encourage public health officials in the United States to embrace the harm-reducing potential of vaping, as their counterparts in the U.K. have been doing for years, rather than portraying e-cigarettes as a menace.
Findings from the nationally representative study, published online in JAMA Network Open, add to the growing evidence linking e-cigarette use to an increased risk for initiating cigarette smoking among youth, especially among low-risk teens.
"In our study, smokers used e-cigarettes much like other nicotine replacement treatments".
But for those kids considered to be at low risk for taking up smoking - who had initially said they had no interest in smoking, were risk averse and less likely to seek out new experiences - first using e-cigarettes raised the risk of eventual smoking by 8.57 times.
In a reverse analysis, the researchers behind the study also found an association between cigarette smoking and subsequent use of e-cigarettes, "suggesting that e-cigarettes may divert smokers toward e-cigarettes in some youths" while increasing the alternative risk of cigarette initiation among others who initially used e-cigarettes. "There is substantial evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they are not harmful".
People assigned to e-cigarettes reported less severe urges to smoke in the first 4 weeks of the study.
Several factors may have boosted the results: All the participants were recruited from a government smoking-cessation program and were presumably motivated to quit.
Myth #1: E-cigarettes give you popcorn lung.
By the 52nd week, 18 per cent of the e-cigarette group was still off cigarettes, compared to 9.9 per cent of the standard treatment group.
While nicotine plays a part, Stokes thinks the influence of vaping is "more complex than just nicotine". The study looked at diacetyl levels in e-cigarettes, but never implied that e-cigarettes cause this disease.
The study was welcomed by Public Health England, whose tobacco control lead said that stop smoking services should welcome people who want to stop smoking with the help of e-cigarettes.
But Jordt noted that newer devices like the Juul pod have only recently arrived in the UK. "E-cigs have numerous same toxicants of traditional cigs but at lower levels".
Earlier this month the head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, said he was so concerned about teenage use of the devices that he is considering the radical step of banning them completely. People who said they had stopped smoking after 1 year were asked to attend for a carbon monoxide screen to confirm their claim.