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Italian Study Claims E-Cigarettes Are Safe to Use but Don’t Help Smokers Quit

According to an Italian study published in the PLoS One medical journal, electronic cigarettes can keep ex-smokers from relapsing, but do not help dual-users give up smoking.

cartomizer-and-e-liquidFourteen Italian researchers from various universities, healthcare organizations and the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) monitored a large sample of e-cigarette users, smokers and dual users, for a period of 12 months, to see how successful they are in achieving smoking abstinence. The study included 236 e-cig users (all former smokers), 491 tobacco smokers and 232 users of both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes (dual users).

The study revealed that at the 12-month follow-up, 61.9% of those who had given up smoking completely and taken up vaping managed to keep from going back to tobacco cigarettes, while only 20.6% of smokers and 22% of dual users managed to reach the goal of complete abstinence from tobacco.

Scientists concluded that the ability to resist the potentially deadly vice remained high among e-cig users, but that electronic cigarettes did nothing or very little to help those using both e-cigarettes and analogs quit smoking, or even reduce the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the figures presented in the recently published Italian study:

– at the end of the 12 months, 46.2% of vapers continued to use electronic cigarettes exclusively, 15.7% had given up both vaping and smoking, 10.6% had relapsed back to smoking but did not give up electronic cigarettes, and 27.5% had gone back to smoking only tobacco cigarettes;

– Among smokers, 77.6% continued to smoke tobacco exclusively, 13.7% had given up smoking completely, 6.9% continued to smoke but started using electronic cigarettes as well, and 1.8% had switched to using only e-cigarettes;

– 53.5% of dual users had quit electronic cigarettes, but not smoking, 24.6% continued to use both e-cigs and tobacco cigarettes, 11.6% had given up both and 10.3% had said goodbye only to tobacco cigarettes.

According to Walter Ricciardi, special commissioner at Italy’s Higher Institute of Health, and co-author of the study, electronic cigarettes are only a viable alternative for former smokers, to help keep them from relapsing. “E-cigarettes probably won’t help people quit smoking,” he said. “At most, they may be a good alternative for ex-smokers, so they don’t go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.”

However, Ricciardi did also note that electronic cigarettes proved safe for consumption during the 12-month period of the presented study. He and his colleagues noticed no adverse effects of vaping among e-cigarette users.

The final results of this research are expected in 2019, but due to the importance of having scientific data to base regulations and policies on, the authors decided to publish their current findings early.

via Il Sole 24 Ore

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