E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Five-Year Survey Shows Electronic Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit

According to a five-year survey, involving 6,000 British smokers, conducted by researchers at University College London, electronic cigarettes increase smoking cessation success rates by 60 percent, compared to nicotine products like patches and gum or willpower alone.

e-cig-modThe wide-scale research spanned from 2009 to 2014, during which time the efforts of 5,863 smokers who wanted to quit were closely monitored by scientists at University College London. At the end of the five-year period, collected data indicated that a fifth (20%) of those surveyed had successfully quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes. In comparison, only 15.4% of those who had tried to quit cold turkey managed to succeed, and just 10.1% quit smoking by using nicotine replacement products like patches and gum.

“The potential public health aspect to e-cigarettes is they seem to tap into a widespread appeal that these types of cessation methods have never managed to do,” Jamie Brown, co-author of the study, said. “In so far as e-cigarettes helped people to stop, then the fact that they are so widely used could suggest that it would have a quite positive public health effect.”

“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” study leader, Professor Robert West, agreed. He also acknowledged that some vapers might want to keep using electronic cigarettes indefinitely, and that the long-term risks of this are still unknown. However, he added that “from what is known about the contents of the vapour these will be much less than from smoking.” West also made it clear that they are closely monitoring electronic cigarette use in England and so far have seen no evidence of e-cigarettes renormalizing smoking, as some e-cig opponents suggest. “Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is negligible,” Professor West concluded.

The research, chiefly funded by Cancer Research UK, and scheduled to be published in the Addiction Journal, suggests electronic cigarettes could play a positive role in reducing smoking rates. However, its results completely contradict another so called scientific work, conducted by well-known e-cigarettes opponent Stanton Glantz, and his team, which found smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit. These findings were dismissed by many of Glantz’s peers, who found the study was based solely on previous research that matched his views, completely ignoring those that showed any kind of cessation success involving e-cigarettes.

The authors of this most recent study admitted that it might be years until questions about the long term risks of using electronic cigarettes are answered, but Jamie Brown reminded everyone that “It’s important to remember that the comparison is to smoking. Even if e-cigarettes cause one-twentieth of the harm and all smokers switch to e-cigarettes, that would also result in a huge reduction in harm.” Yes, he is talking about harm reduction. Remember the time when that was actually a goal of health organizations and anti-smoking groups? Now they just seem to be ignoring cigarettes and focusing all their attention on e-cigarettes. Why is that, I wonder…

Photo: Terry Ozon

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