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E-cigarette smoking cessation rates double that of traditional aids

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes help with smoking cessation at double the rate of traditional products report researchers, who also find public interest in the devices is high.

Findings from Boston University School of Public Health found consumers who purchased e-cigarettes remained smoke free six months after purchasing - a success rate of 31 percent compared to 12 to 18 percent for nicotine gum and patches. In a second new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found interest in electronic cigarettes is also high among consumers.

The finding, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, result of an online survey sent to 222 participants purchasing e-cigarettes for the first time. At six months, 34.3 percent of reports using no nicotine or electronic cigarettes and 67 percent said they had cut down on smoking.

Lead study author Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences said, "While it is well-recognized that nicotine plays a role in smoking addiction, little attention has been given to the behavioral aspects of the addiction, These devices simulate the smoking experience, which appears to make them effective as a smoking cessation tool", that he also says deserves more study about what makes them so effective.

The researchers believe the survey shows evidence that electronic cigarettes do help people stop smoking. Though the response rate was only 4.5 percent, limiting the study findings, the authors say it may be the respondents were more likely to have quit smoking and believe more research is warranted.

E-cigarettes have raised controversy and New York has considered banning them altogether, but the new finding shows higher success rates for smoking cessation than other products on the market.

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The authors add that banning electronic cigarettes is likely to harm public health, given the success for smoking cessation found in the study. Siegel believes removing e-cigarettes from the market due to lack of proof that they work would be a mistake.

In another recent finding, researchers determined there is significant public interest in electronic cigarettes. Lead author John Ayers, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said, “Although we don’t know much about the health effects of e-cigarettes, they are by far the most popular smoking alternatives and cessation products on the market.”

For the Hopkins study, internet searchers related to e-cigarettes were monitored in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia from January 2008 until September 2010. "We found that e-cigarettes were more popular in U.S. states with stronger tobacco control,” Ayers said.

The two studies show interest in e-cigarettes is high and consumers have been able to successfully stop smoking with the devices that are smokeless, run on batteries and deliver nicotine and other chemical vapors, the safety of which remains unknown.

Boston School of Public Health
"Electronic Cigarettes Hold Promise As Aid to Quitting"

American Journal of Preventive Medicine
"Interest in E-cigarettes Is High, but Safety and Effectiveness Unknown"