A new analysis found that adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are 28% less likely to stop smoking cigarettes.
The study — a systematic review and meta-analysis of published data — is the largest to quantify whether e-cigarettes assist smokers in quitting cigarettes. The findings were published online January 14, 2016 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
“As currently being used, e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers,” concluded first author Sara Kalkhoran, MD who was a clinical fellow at the UCSF School of Medicine when the research was conducted. She is now at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
“E-cigarettes should not be recommended as effective smoking cessation aids until there is evidence that, as promoted and used, they assist smoking cessation,” Kalkhoran wrote.
Electronic cigarettes, known by a variety of names including vapor pens, are battery-powered devices that heat nicotine and flavorings to deliver an aerosol inhaled by the user. While they are promoted as a way to quit traditional cigarettes, they also are promoted as a way to get nicotine in environments where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, even though more than 430 cities and several states ban their use in smoke free sites where conventional cigarettes are also prohibited.