Research Shows Vaping Helps Smokers Quit

National No Smoking Day 2021

Scientists at King’s College London published a new study paper in the research journal Addiction to coincide with national No Smoking Day, Tuesday 10 March. They found that smokers using an e-cigarette daily to help them quit smoking showed a “clear benefit”. Members of the team also used the findings to explain how the World Health Organization has got its priorities wrong when it comes to vaping.

What was the research about?

The research(1) was funded by Cancer Research UK, an organisation that supports the concept of harm reduction and smokers switching to ecigs in order to quit smoking. The team worked with data obtained from over 1100 people, including smokers, ex-smokers, and ecig users.

The period over which they collected data stretched from 2012 to 2017, and they analysed how successful closed and refillable vape devices were at helping quit attempts and, more importantly, keeping people off tobacco products.

What did the researchers discover?

The research team found that smokers who used a refillable atomiser for vaping and used it every day, to quit smoking were more than five times as likely to be successful in being smoke-free one month after the beginning of their quit attempt than those who didn’t vape.

The academics also discovered that although not as successful, smokers still experienced elevated levels of success with closed ecig systems or disposable products. Those smokers were found to be three times more successful compared to those who didn’t use an electronic cigarette.

The published paper concluded: “When used daily, electronic cigarettes appear to facilitate abstinence from smoking when compared with using no help.”

Lead author of the study, Dr Máirtín McDermott, a research fellow at King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre, said: “Our results show that when used daily, e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking, compared to no help at all. 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. It’s important that we routinely measure how often people use e-cigarettes.”

Dr Leonie Brose, who worked on the paper and is a reader at the National Addiction Centre, also commented: “Despite the World Health Organization’s cautious stance on e-cigarettes, studies like ours show they are still one of the most effective quitting aids available. The World Health Organization is especially concerned about refillable e-cigarettes, as these could allow the user to add harmful substances or higher levels of nicotine. 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.”



  1. The effectiveness of using e‐cigarettes for quitting smoking compared to other cessation methods among adults in the United Kingdom