E-cigarettes help more smokers quit, study finds

Pearl Mccarthy
February 2, 2019

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that e-cigarettes, when paired with "behavioural support", may be a more effective tool to quitting smoking than other nicotine replacement options. 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.

Of those e-cigarette users who had stopped smoking after 1 year, 80% were still vaping regularly. 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. 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 U.S.to enthusiastically embrace e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.

While the individual-level risk of cigarette initiation was similar for prior e-cigarette users and prior other tobacco product users, the proportion of new cigarette use attributable to prior e-cigarette use "appears larger than the proportion attributed to prior use of all other products combined", strengthening prior evidence and the rationale "for aggressive regulation of youth access to and marketing of e-cigarettes to achieve future decreases in the prevalence of cigarette use among youths", the report concludes.

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.

A major clinical trial conducted by researchers from Queen Mary University of London found that "vaping" pushed twice as many people off cigarettes one year later than users of other products.

FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) - The kind of teenager least interested in smoking appears to be the type most likely to try a cigarette after they experiment with vaping, a new study indicates.

People assigned to e-cigarettes reported less severe urges to smoke in the first 4 weeks of the study. And even though the study participants who attempted to quit by vaping were given the choice of just one product, the results were impressive.

The researchers said no serious adverse events were related to either NRT use or e-cigarette use.

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There has been some opposition to the idea of vaping to quit smoking.

"E-cigarettes provide nicotine, which is important when someone is trying to quit smoking", said study author Dunja Przulj. We don't know whether the chemicals in e-cigarettes, particularly the flavourings, may have long-term harms that have not yet come to light.

"Vaping is a far less harmful alternative for smokers who are unable to quit and has helped millions of smokers quit overseas", ATHRA chairman, Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, said.

But Jordt noted that newer devices like the Juul pod have only recently arrived in the UK.

"It's a concern. But the people who switch, they're still likely to have lower health risks", said Levy. The e-cig users were more likely to report throat and mouth irritation, while the NRT group were more likely to suffer from nausea.

"We need more studies about their safety profile, and I don't think anyone should be changing practice based on one study", said Belinda Borrelli, a psychologist specializing in smoking cessation at Boston University.

Because of the nature of the treatments, it wasn't possible to disguise from people whether they were using e-cigarettes or NRT products.

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