A new study in the journal Addictive Behaviours finds that switching to vaping helps smokers quit tobacco use. Not only does it work as a cessation tool, but it keeps smokers from slipping back into their old habit – which is great news for anyone looking to quit smoking during VApril (a month dedicated to quitting cigarettes and taking up vaping). The researchers’ findings mirror those from a meta-analysis published last year.
The research(1) says that vaping is probably “more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum”.
The academics undertaking the work ply their trade at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, the Psychiatry department, and the School of Public Health at The University of Queensland in Australia.
Dr Gary Chan led the nine-person team and said their work added to the growing body of evidence from around the world that supports the idea that e-cigarettes are effective at helping smokers to quit tobacco and remain smoke-free.
He said: “Our study found e-cigarettes are 50 per cent more effective than nicotine replacement therapy, and more than 100 per cent more effective than the placebo. Electronic cigarettes containing nicotine may be more effective than nicotine replacement products because they deliver a small amount of nicotine to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and provide a similar behavioural and sensory experience as smoking tobacco products.”
The researchers looked at sixteen comprehensive studies, covering almost 13,000 people, and assessed electronic cigarettes and compared them to approved traditional nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, lozenges, mouth spray, inhalators and nasal sprays.
Dr Chan continued: “We reviewed all existing evidence and compared e-cigarettes, traditional nicotine replacement therapy and placebos to find the best substitute for helping smokers quit and make lasting behavioural change. Currently, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends e-cigarettes as a second-line treatment to support smoking cessation, however, in light of our findings, this recommendation could be re-evaluated.
“We hope the findings from this study can be used to better inform policies around e-cigarettes and cigarette smoking. E-cigarettes have the potential to accelerate the decline of cigarette smoking. The evidence needs to be used to reconsider how we could harness their potential to end the cigarette smoking epidemic.”
The findings mirror those from a paper published by the Cochrane Library last year(2). That study appraised 50 completed studies covering over 12,000 subjects. That paper’s authors found no evidence of “harm from nicotine EC [electronic cigarettes]”, and that vaping with nicotine e-liquids increased smoking quit rates when compared with NRT products.
As we are now in VApril(3), the month when the vape industry supports smokers to switch to e-cigs in order to improve their health, you might want to share this great information with your smoking friends.
- A systematic review of randomized controlled trials and network meta-analysis of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.
- Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.