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The recently published study which was funded by Cancer Research UK, indicated that smokers who switch to vaping are able to stay away from smoking in the long term, and many who had never intended to quit end up switching to the devices as they start enjoying vaping more than smoking.

Lead researcher Dr Caitlin Notley from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, discussed the aim of the research, “E-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking, and they are now the most popular aid to quitting smoking in the UK. However the idea of using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and particularly long-term use, remains controversial,” she said, adding, “We wanted to find out about how people use e-cigarettes to quit smoking – and whether vaping supports long-term smoking abstinence.”

“We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence. Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking.”Dr Caitlin Notley, Lead researcher, UEA's Norwich Medical School

The researchers interviewed 40 vapers, asking them numerous questions about their smoking history, prior quit attempts, and details about their vaping preferences such as preferred flavours and strength, and whether they had switched to vaping in attempt to quit smoking.

“We found that vaping may support long-term smoking abstinence,” said Dr Notley. “Not only does it substitute many of the physical, psychological, social and cultural elements of cigarette smoking, but it is pleasurable in its own right, as well as convenient and cheaper than smoking.”

Smokers who switched to e-cigs noticed health improvements

The lead researcher added that after switching from smoking to vaping, the interviewees had noticed improvements in their health. “Our study group also felt better in themselves – they noticed better respiratory function, taste and smell.”

Some of these vapers, 17%, used to enjoy smoking and had never intended to quit.
According to Notley, the most interesting aspect that stood out in this research, was the fact that many of these vapers had never intended to quit. “But the really interesting thing we found was that vaping may also encourage people who don’t even want to stop smoking, to eventually quit.”

Some of these vapers, 17%, used to enjoy smoking and had never intended to quit. “These were our accidental quitters,” said Dr Notley. “They hadn’t intended to quit smoking and had tried vaping on a whim, or because they had been offered it by friends. They went on to like it, and only then saw it as a potential substitute for smoking.”

E-cigs encourage even smokers who did not want to quit, stop smoking

Director of cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK Alison Cox, said that given the fact that research indicates that the devices are significantly safer than regular cigarettes, she is happy to see that the devices seem promising as smoking cessation tools.

“It’s great to see this early indication that e-cigarettes could encourage smokers who weren’t originally thinking of quitting to give up. But more research is needed to understand exactly how e-cigarettes are being used by people who don’t want to stop smoking and how often this results in quitting,” she said.

Read Further: EurekAlert

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