E-cigarettes help smokers quit

28 July, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Around 44% of Australian smokers have already tried vaping despite the sale of nicotine being illegal. Source AACS

A report published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) claims that e-cigarette users are more likely than non-users to successfully quit smoking - for at least three months. Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the American Heart Association's Tobacco Research and Addiction Center said: "We just don't know if moving to e-cigarettes is good enough to reduce the harm".

The study further suggests that e-cigarettes, rather than other factors such as higher taxes or anti-tobacco campaigns, were responsible for the increased rate of quitting.

Researchers found that e-cigarette users were more likely to attempt to quit smoking and more likely to succeed than non-users when looking at data from one of the largest representative samples of e-cigarette users to date.

For the study, published today in the journal BMJ, researchers analyzed survey data from over 160,000 people spanning nearly 15 years.

"The people who say that use of e-cigarettes inhibits cessation should be sobered by this paper", said Dr. Steven Schroeder, a physician and tobacco researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

Tobacco companies want USA regulators to approve new marketing claims for smokeless products as a safer alternative to smoking, and some public-health advocates agree.

To examine the effects of e-cigs use on quitting smoking, Zhu and his colleagues collected data from the US Census CPS-TUS. Smoking cessation rates were determined from participants who reported smoking cigarettes in the past year (n = 23,270).

Smokers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to quit using conventional cigarettes.

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The study identified that the cessation rate for smokers who did not use e-cigarettes in 2014-15 was "statistically indistinguishable" from the rate in previous years.

How safe are e-cigarettes?

The AHA said it is reasonable for physicians to support a patient's use of an e-cigarette to stop smoking if they have failed approved therapies and would like to try this approach.

Ever users referred to those who had ever tried e-cigarettes, while current users were those who answered "every day" or "some days".

"If the 40 million smokers in the US switched to e-cigarettes, the nation would be a lot healthier for it", Schroeder said.

"We are pretty confident that e-cigarettes are less unsafe, but that is only because cigarettes are so bad", he said.

Earlier this month, a House panel renewed its efforts to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market. However, many scientists agree that smokeless tobacco poses lower health risks than smoking, and some academics and public-health experts are pushing USA health agencies to provide the public with information on the relative risks of tobacco products.

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