A recently-published US study has provided population-level evidence that vaping helps smokers quit tobacco.
Published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research online, the study provides the first long-time data demonstrating the effectiveness of e-cigarettes among American smokers.
The team from Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Tobacco Research and Treatment Center analysed the data gathered from the first three years of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study.
A sample of the the same individuals representative of the population are questioned every year. This allows the researchers to track how the tobacco habits of more than 8,000 people has changed.
The investigators measured how likely a smoker was to quit and stay tobacco-free, either by going cold-turkey or through daily or non-daily e-cigarette-use.
Daily e-cigarette users were more likely than non-users to quit tobacco within a year and stay tobacco-free for at least another year.
Nancy Rigotti, MD, senior author of the paper and director of the MGH Tobacco Research and Treatment Center, said:
“Smokers who plan to stop smoking should still be encouraged to first use FDA-approved therapies rather than e-cigarettes.
“But, this study suggests e-cigarettes may be helpful for some smokers who are not able to quit with these existing treatments”
Interestingly, regular e-cigarette-users who did not vape every day were no more likely to stay abstinent than the cold-turkey group.
Sara Kalkhoran, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said:
“This finding suggests that smokers who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking need to use them regularly – every day–for these products to be most helpful.”
The American scientific and public health community remain sceptical that e-cigarettes help smokers stay free from tobacco.
However, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year found that e-cigarettes were twice as effective as nicotine patches and gum at helping smokers quit tobacco.