Vaping 2x better for quitting smoking than patches, gum

Leslie Hanson
February 2, 2019

A new survey out of the United Kingdom claims puffing on e-cigarettes is more effective for quitting smoking than Nicotine patches and gum.

E-cigarettes also provided higher satisfaction and were rated as more helpful than nicotine-replacement treatment.

The debate over the potential harms and benefits of vaping has raged on for years. Throat or mouth irritation was reported more frequently in the e-cigarette group and nausea was reported more often in the NRT group, but the effects were mostly mild.

The e-cigarette users also reported "less severe urges to smoke" at one week and four weeks after they initially quit smoking, as well as less "irritability, restlessness, and inability to concentrate" than those using other nicotine replacement methods.

Strother said 97 percent of e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive.

They addressed the possible long-term safety issues, saying that people's continued use of e-cigarettes "can be seen as problematic if e-cigarette use for a year signals ongoing long-term use, which may pose as-yet-unknown health risks".

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. They state that amounts to an increase of about one million children using e-cigarettes. Nevertheless, even though those studies used primitive vaping devices, the results showed cessation success on par with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. There is a new scientific consensus mounting around the contention that, while e-cigarettes may not be completely benign, they are far less harmful than combustible cigarettes, have fewer toxins and can be useful as a tool for smoking cessation.

A major clinical trial which followed 886 people for a year found that 18 per cent of those who switched to vaping successfully gave up smoking compared to 9.9 per cent who turned to products such as patches, gum or lozenges. "There is substantial evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they are not harmful".

Additional support was provided to study participants through anti-smoking counseling and recruitment from a government smoking-cessation program.

A second survey in 2015-2016 assessed how numerous kids had tried either vaping or smoking in the interim.

While nicotine plays a part, Stokes thinks the influence of vaping is "more complex than just nicotine". And even though the study participants who attempted to quit by vaping were given the choice of just one product, the results were impressive.

Electronic cigarettes, which have been available in the US since about 2007 and have grown into a $6.6 billion-a-year industry, are battery-powered devices that typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor.

Another concern Jordt has about e-cigarettes is that many users will simply never stop using them.

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.

Because people had known which treatment they had received - as opposed to being "blinded" as they are in most randomised controlled trials - it was possible participants may have perceived nicotine replacements as an inferior option and put less effort into quitting, the authors said.

Because of the nature of the treatments, it wasn't possible to disguise from people whether they were using e-cigarettes or NRT products.

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