Led by researchers from UCL and funded by Cancer Research UK, the study titled, “Association of prevalence of electronic cigarette use with smoking cessation and cigarette consumption in England: a time series analysis between 2006 and 2017,” found that as the use of e-cigarette use for smoking cessation purposes, increased from 2011 onwards, so did the success rates of quitting.

In 2017 between 50,700 and 69,930 smokers who would otherwise have carried on smoking, managed to quit thanks to vaping products.

Similarly, when vaping rates took a dip around 2015, so did the increase in quitting success. The compiled data indicated that in 2017 between 50,700 and 69,930 smokers who would otherwise have carried on smoking, managed to quit thanks to e-cigs.

“Overall quit rates increased by 0.054% (95%CI 0.032 to 0.076, p<0.001) and 0.050% (95%CI 0.031 to 0.069, p<0.001) respectively for every 1% increase in the prevalence of e‐cigarette use by smokers and e‐cigarette use during a quit attempt. Quit success rates increased by 0.060% (95%CI 0.043 to 0.078, p<0.001) for every 1% increase in the prevalence of e‐cigarette use during a quit attempt. No clear evidence was found for an association between e‐cigarette use and either prevalence of quit attempt (B=0.011 95%CI ‐0.046 to 0.069, p=0.698) or cigarette consumption (B=0.019 95%CI ‐0.043 to 0.082, p=0.542),” read the study Abstract.

The UK has adopted the right approach towards e-cigs

The researchers used data from the Smoking Toolkit Study, a series of monthly cross-sectional household surveys from England, of individuals aged 16 and above that go back to 2006. Senior Research Associate at UCL, and lead study author, Dr Emma Beard, said that given these findings, the UK seems to be taking the right approach towards vaping products.

“This study builds on population surveys and clinical trials that find e-cigarettes can help smokers to stop. England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes. Marketing is tightly controlled so we are seeing very little use of e-cigarettes by never-smokers of any age while millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.”

E-cigs should only be used for smoking cessation purposes

Meanwhile, Cancer Research UK senior policy manager, George Butterworth, emphasized that only smokers wishing to quit should be using the devices. “E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, they aren’t risk free and we don’t yet know their long-term impact. We strongly discourage non-smokers from using them.”

“But research so far shows that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco and can help people to stop smoking, so it’s good that over 50,000 people managed to give up in 2017. For the best chance of quitting, get support from a Stop Smoking Service, who can help you find the right tools for you,” concluded Butterworth.

Read Further: EurekAlert

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