E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine gum or patches at helping people quit smoking, a landmark trial found.
E-cigarettes also provided higher satisfaction and were rated as more helpful than nicotine-replacement treatment.
"This is a well-designed and much-needed study that may have important clinical and policy implications for the use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid", Scott Weaver, an epidemiologist at Georgia State University's School of Public Health who is not affiliated with the new research, told Gizmodo. A study cited by the National Institutes of Health showed that e-cigarettes do generate second-hand exposure to nicotine, but do not generate any second-hand exposure to the toxicants found in combustible tobacco.
The e-cigarette group were nearly twice as successful, with an abstinence rate of 18%.
However, most experts agree that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than tobacco products.
That's why the researchers recommend smokers use FDA-approved NRTs to quit smoking first, and then turn to e-cigs only as a last resort - and either method should be accompanied by behavioral therapy.
In contrast, only 9.9% of participants making use of other forms of nicotine replacement therapy succeeded in quitting.
Children and teens who had used e-cigarettes were four times more likely to have taken up cigarette smoking than those who didn't vape, according to a study published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Study researcher Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, thinks the results could change how health professional give advice to smokers.
'Evidence of effectiveness must be balanced against the short-term and long-term safety of e-cigarettes. After all, not only are e-cigarettes helping people quit, they are 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
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Writing in an editorial to accompany the New England Journal of Medicine research, Boston professors Belinda Borrelli and George O'Connor said: 'While e-cigarettes are "safer" than traditional cigarettes, they are not without risks.
The researchers said no serious adverse events were related to either NRT use or e-cigarette use.
"Yet, instead of an official statement or press release about this new United Kingdom study (none appear on the FDA website) or any statement about how adult smokers need to switch to safer e-cigarettes, Gottlieb offered a milquetoast tweet (emphasis mine) saying the FDA is "...committed to the promise that e-cigs can help now addicted adult smokers quit; and improve their health by doing so..." adding that the agency's "urgent concerns are kids use of these products, and how to arrest it without substantially impeding adults".
And while Gottlieb continues to promote the idea that there's a teen vaping epidemic, the data doesn't bare this out at all.
Yet, the FDA's current and continued actions against the e-cigarette industry are impeding current smokers' access to e-cigarettes.
Both treatment groups also received weekly behavioural support for at least four weeks. Those devices have largely been overtaken in the U.S.by Juul and similar devices that have prefilled nicotine cartridges, or pods. The other thing it does is show that the magnitude of risk is even higher for those at low risk for using cigarettes. "That's not to say it couldn't be an effective cessation device, but we're just not there yet".
"We know that if we can keep our youth from starting to smoke, and particularly over the age of 21, we know that they're not likely to become addicted to the substance, and they're not likely to become regular, daily smokers", Strother said.
Myth #3: E-cigarettes are just as risky as combustibles because they contain nicotine.