The study titled, “Effect of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems on Cigarette Abstinence in Smokers with no Plans to Quit: Exploratory Analysis of a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial,” followed 520 smokers who were looking to reduce their cigarette consumption by at least 50% but had no plans to quit.

The research team analyzed whether the use of a number of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes reduced cigarette consumption, by randomly assigning participants with products containing 0 mg/mL (placebo), 8 mg/mL or 36 mg/mL nicotine, or a cigarette substitute with no nicotine, electronics or aerosols. They also encouraged the participants to reduce their cigarette consumption throughout the length of the study.

At the six month mark, the researchers found that those participants who had received the 36 mg/mL nicotine ENDS, which has similar nicotine delivery to a cigarette, were more likely to remain abstinent from cigarettes than the participants in the other groups.

“At 24 weeks, significantly more participants in the 36 mg/ml condition (14/130, 10.8%) than in the 0 mg/ml condition (1/130, 0.8%) and the CS condition (4/130, 3.1%) were abstinent (relative risk = 14 [95% CI=1.9-104.9] and 3.5 [95% CI=1.2-10.4], respectively). The abstinence rate in the 8 mg/ml condition was 4.6% (6/130),” read the study Abstract.

Using a high nicotine content seems most effective

Lead study author and professor of public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Jonathan Foulds, said that using a high nicotine content seems most effective. “Across the board, quit rates were low as none of the participants entering the trial had plans to quit, nor did they receive advice to quit during those six months. However, over time, we noticed that the number of those receiving the high nicotine-delivery ENDS who abstained from cigarettes gradually increased.”

“That trend was not observed in those receiving the placebo ENDS or the non-ENDS cigarette substitute. This is the first randomized clinical trial of electronic cigarettes to find that a nicotine e-cig produced a significant increase in smoking cessation at six months follow-up, compared with a placebo e-cig as well as compared to a non-ENDS cigarette substitute,” continued Foulds.

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