Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Can Vaping Really Help Smokers Quit? 2019 Study Results

Can Vaping Really Help Smokers Quit? 2019 Study Results

The American Council on Science and Health notes that, "Unlike nicotine gums and patches, vaping, colloquially called e-cigarettes, mimics numerous mechanisms of cigarette smoking, making them less psychologically stressful while easing people off of the nicotine that kept them smoking".

The researchers said: "refillable e-cigarettes had greater [effectiveness] than nicotine-replacement therapy, even though nicotine-replacement therapy was provided in combinations and under expert guidance".

'It provides the clearest indication yet that e-cigarettes are probably more effective than products such as nicotine gum and patches'. Diacetyl is banned from e-cigarettes and e-liquids in the United Kingdom, and even in the US, e-cigarette makers and vendors are increasingly offering diacetyl-free options. That was a reversal of a hands-off approach to e-cigarettes Gottlieb took in 2017 that was followed by a 75 percent rise between 2017 and 2018 in use of e-cigarettes by children and teens.

In terms of health side effects, more nicotine replacement users reported feeling nauseous (37.9%) than e-cigarette users (31.3%).

While the individual-level risk of cigarette initiation was similar for prior e-cigarette users and prior other tobacco product users, the proportion of new cigarette use attributable to prior e-cigarette use "appears larger than the proportion attributed to prior use of all other products combined", strengthening prior evidence and the rationale "for aggressive regulation of youth access to and marketing of e-cigarettes to achieve future decreases in the prevalence of cigarette use among youths", the report concludes. However, there's been controversy about the safety of e-cigarettes and a lack of research about how effective they are in helping people to stop smoking. Even the success rate using nicotine replacement therapy seen in this study is actually pretty high compared to other studies measuring its effectiveness.

Yet, sadly, polls show that of the 37.8 million adults in the United States who now smoke, roughly 65 percent think e-cigarettes are just as harmful as smoking traditional cigarettes.

The study, involving nearly 900 smokers, found that 18 percent of e-cigarette users were smoke-free after a year, compared to 9.9 percent who tried quitting using other products. However, they say, ongoing use of e-cigarettes may prevent relapse into smoking and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Borrelli also warns people not to look at e-cigarettes as a magic cure to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes.

"Vaping is a far less harmful alternative for smokers who are unable to quit and has helped millions of smokers quit overseas", ATHRA chairman, Conjoint Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn, said.

The British government provided funding for the study as it looks to use vaping as a tool to help smokers quit, the news outlet said.

That might not seem like a huge success rate, but it's notoriously hard to quit smoking.

The researchers concluded that this finding "raises concerns that e-cigarettes may re-normalize smoking behaviors and erode decades of progress in reducing smoking among youths".

Prof Hajek said he hoped the results of the study would lead to stop-smoking services offering quitters an e-cigarette starter pack and guidance on how to vape, after which they could pay for their own supplies. These devices now often have more nicotine and come in a more convenient form than the first-generation vaping devices. "E-cigs have numerous same toxicants of traditional cigs but at lower levels".

"(Nicotine) is the villain of the piece; it is responsible for people becoming compulsive smokers", he said.

Earlier this month the head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, said he was so concerned about teenage use of the devices that he is considering the radical step of banning them completely.

The Harvard study published in Scientific Reports determined that two chemicals commonly used to flavor e-cigarettes may be harming the cilia, the antennae-like protrusions that line human airways to help keep them clean.

Myers' group is one of several anti-smoking organizations suing the FDA to immediately begin reviewing e-cigarettes.

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