A new study shows that e-cigarettes have a “clear benefit” of helping quit smoking.
A new study published in the journal Addiction shows that using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking “supports their effectiveness compared to other methods of quitting, including nicotine replacement therapy or medication.”
The study, conducted by a team at King’s College London, found that the number of people in England who smoke has continued to fall in recent years. Of course, smoking tobacco products is still the leading preventable cause of premature death in the country and the world. In England alone, nearly 75,000 people died from smoking in 2019.
“Our results show that when used daily, e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking, compared to no help at all,” said Dr. Máirtín McDermott, a research fellow at the college’s National Addiction Centre and the lead author of the recently published study. “These findings are in line with previous research, showing that e-cigarettes are a more effective aid for quitting than nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medication.”
Cancer Research UK, an awareness and research charity based in London, backed the researchers at King’s College London. The researchers analyzed data from an online survey of more than 1,155 people. This survey group includes current smokers, ex-smokers who quit within a year before the survey, and electronic cigarette users.
“It’s important that we routinely measure how often people use e-cigarettes, as we’ve seen that more sporadic use at follow-up — specifically of refillable types — was not associated with abstinence,” notes McDermott in the same statement.
The researchers also called out the World Health Organization for its overly cautious position on e-cigarettes.
“The WHO is especially concerned about refillable e-cigarettes, as these could allow the user to add harmful substances or higher levels of nicotine,” said Dr. Leonie Brose of the same center at the college. “However, we’ve shown that refillable types, in particular, are a very effective quitting aid when used daily, and this evidence should be factored into any future guidance around their use.”
Brose added: “Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cautious stance on e-cigarettes, studies like ours show they are still one of the most effective quitting aids available.”
According to the study’s actual abstract, out of the 1,155 mentioned above, all ranged in age from 18 to 81 years of age. 56.1 percent were male.
“Five waves of data were collected between 2012 and 2017,” notes another press statement announcing the results of the study. “The researchers analyzed the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in aiding abstinence from smoking for at least one month at follow-up, and at least one month of abstinence between the first survey and subsequent follow-up waves.”
“When used daily, electronic cigarettes appear to facilitate abstinence from smoking when compared with using no help,” notes the study’s conclusion via its abstract in Addiction.