A new study by Queen Mary University of London, published in Addiction, shows that e-cigarettes are more effective in achieving long-term smoking reduction and cessation than nicotine-replacement therapies (NRT).
The study randomized 135 smokers who had been unable to stop smoking with conventional treatments into two groups—one received an eight-week supply of their choice of NRT and the other received an e-cigarette starter pack with instructions to purchase further e-liquids of their choice of strength and flavor. Products were accompanied by minimal behavioral support.
After six months, 27 percent of those in the e-cigarette group had reduced smoking by at least half compared to 6 percent in the NRT group. Of the participants in the e-cigarette group, 19 percent had stopped smoking altogether versus 3 percent in the NRT group.
“These results have important clinical implications for smokers who have previously been unable to stop smoking using conventional treatments,” said Katie Myers Smith, lead researcher and health psychologist, in Eurasia Review. “E-cigarettes should be recommended to smokers who have previously struggled to quit using other methods, particularly when there is limited behavioral support available.”
“This study shows e-cigarettes can be a very effective tool for people who want to stop smoking, including those who’ve tried to quit before,” said Michelle Mitchell, CEO of Cancer Research U.K., which funded the study. “And research so far shows that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. But e-cigarettes aren’t risk free, and we don’t yet know their long-term effects, so people who have never smoked shouldn’t use them.”