Vaping significantly improved the quitting rate and reduced the consumption of daily cigarettes at 12 weeks. In line with recommendations by vaping advocates across the globe, the researchers pointed out that given that the long term health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown, the devices should only be used for smoking cessation purposes.
The researchers enrolled 376 participants from areas across Canada. Participants were an average of 53 years old and had smoked an average of a pack a day for an average of 35 years. All the participants were motivated to quit, with 91% having unsuccessfully attempted to quit via smoking cessation medications or behavioral therapies.
The participants’ progress was reported via three phone calls and two clinic visits during the 12-week treatment period. During the clinic visits, the participants underwent a breath test for carbon monoxide to verify whether or not they had smoked, and those who passed the breath test, were counted as having quit. For those who did not quit, the researchers took into account whether they had at least reduced their total consumption per day in comparison to their total consumption at the start of the study.
Participants given nicotine-containing e-cigs were most successful
The trial found that at 12 weeks, 21.9% of participants given nicotine-containing e-cigarettes had quit smoking, while only 17.3% of participants given non-nicotine e-cigarettes were successful, and only 9.1% of those given just counseling. The researchers concluded that those using nicotine-containing e-cigarettes were 2.4 times more likely to quit than those who did not.
“These findings show that nicotine e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation in the short term,” said lead study author Mark J. Eisenberg, MD, MPH, a cardiologist at the Jewish General Hospital, professor of medicine at McGill University. “Vaping with counseling is more effective than counseling alone, although it’s not a magic bullet for smoking cessation.”
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