Overall, adolescents who used e-cigarettes before trying any other tobacco products were more than four times as likely to be smoking traditional cigarettes within a couple of years compared to those who had never tried any type of vaping device or non-cigarette tobacco products, the study team reports in JAMA Network Open.
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.
For years, physicians have been reluctant to recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation because of a lack of clinical trial data, said Hajek.
But two editorials in the same publication threw some cold water on the trial's results.
Study researcher Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, thinks the results could change how health professional give advice to smokers.
18pc of e-cigarette users had abandoned their habit after a year in a study of over 900 people. "We fear that the creation of a generation of nicotine-addicted teenagers will lead to a resurgence in the use of combustible tobacco in the decades to come", said lead author Jeffrey Drazen, editor in chief of NEJM. 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.
In 2015, the government's public health agency, Public Health England, endorsed an independent report that found e-cigarettes were significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and should be embraced as a way to help smokers quit.
A lot of experts and health professionals agree that e-cigs expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.
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". "Other strengths of the study include biochemical verification of smoking outcomes - the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) arm had a choice of products (gum, patch, etc) and could switch between them if they wanted, the e-cig arm had a choice of e-liquids, and it was a pragmatic trial conducted in a real-world setting".
A major new study provides the strongest evidence yet that vaping can help smokers quit cigarettes, with e-cigarettes proving almost twice as effective as nicotine gums and patches.
A second survey in 2015-2016 assessed how numerous kids had tried either vaping or smoking in the interim.
Philip Morris International Inc., whose sister company Altria Inc.is seeking FDA approval to sell its "heat-not-burn" IQOS tobacco device, said a balance must be struck between seeking to prevent teens from using nicotine products and helping to move adult smokers away from cigarettes.
The researchers added that the reasons e-cigarettes were found to be more effective could be because of better tailoring of nicotine dose.
"The study was performed under medical supervision and with medical behavioural support of the smokers that tried to quit", Jordt, who is not affiliated with the research, said.
The results were more startling when researchers compared low-risk kids to those more likely to take up smoking.
'E-cigarette vapour contains many toxins and exerts potentially adverse biologic effects on human cells. although toxin levels and biologic effects are generally lower than those of tobacco smoke'. Therefore, when the FDA only approves nicotine replacement therapies (gum and patches) and not products that help smokers mimic the physical habits of smoking (deep breathing, hand to mouth contact, social rituals, having to go outside and taking a break from work), women don't find as much success with these products.