Using e-cigarettes in order to quit smoking was associated with improved success rates, according to a study from University College London.
The study, published in Addiction, surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support. According to the results, 20% of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.
The research, chiefly funded by Cancer Research UK, suggests that e-cigarettes could play a positive role in reducing smoking rates, according to authors.
“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” said senior author Robert West, a professor in UCL’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health. “However, we should also recognize that the strongest evidence remains for use of the NHS stop-smoking services. These almost triple a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products.”
In addition, another survey by the same team of researchers found that most e-cigarette use involves first generation ‘cigalike’ products rather than second generation ones that use refillable cartridges and a wider choice of nicotine concentrations and flavors.
“We will continue to monitor success rates in people using e-cigarettes to stop smoking to see whether there are improvements as the devices become more advanced,” said lead author Jamie Brown of UCL’s Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology
“It is not clear whether long-term use of e-cigarettes carries health risks but from what is known about the contents of the vapour these will be much less than from smoking,” added West. “Some public health experts have expressed concern that widespread use of e-cigarettes could ‘re-normalize’ smoking. However, we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it. Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is negligible.”