Study suggests critics of vaping are wrong to claim it encourages non-smokers to take up habit…
Wednesday 17 December 2014
Electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit or reduce the amount they smoke by as much as half, according to research that appears to undermine fears that vaping will encourage non-smokers to take up the habit.
A review by the Cochrane Collaboration, the medical research group, says the controversial devices help people who want to stop smoking.
Researchers from the UK and New Zealand analysed two previous randomised controlled trials on e-cigarettes’ role in quitting and concluded that they had beneficial effects.
Almost one in 10 (9%) smokers who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine gave up within a year, they found. That was more than double the 4% who managed to quit with the aid of nicotine-free vapourisers.
When the authors looked at smokers using e-cigarettes who had not quit they found that 36% of vaporiser users had halved their intake of cigarettes, compared with the 28% who did not despite being given a placebo.
Co-author Peter Hajek, a professor of clinical psychology at Queen Mary, University of London, admitted the findings were not definitive because the two trials included only 662 smokers.
Although the researchers’ confidence in e-cigarettes’ usefulness for smoking cessation was limited the results were encouraging, he said.
“Both trials used electronic cigarettes with low nicotine delivery and it is likely that more recent products are more effective, as previous research suggests that higher and faster nicotine delivery facilitates treatment effects,” he said.
The authors could draw no lessons on the efficacy of e-cigarettes relative to nicotine patches because too few participants in the studies were using them.
Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “While the studies included were limited in number and used e-cigarettes which are now largely obsolete, the results are clear. E-cigarettes are helping smokers to quit or substantially cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke.”
Professor Robert West, editor-in-chief of the journal Addiction, said: