Vaping seems to really help people quit smoking better than nicotine patches and old-style chewing gum. Drop-out rates were almost twice as high among people who switched to e-cigarettes than people who changed in a recent study Have used nicotine replacement therapy.
E-cigarettes have long been believed to be a superior break-off aid, but the only previous head-to-head study used an early version that did not deliver much nicotine and therefore showed no difference in the rate of abandonment compared to patches.
Peter Hajek of Queen Mary University in London and colleagues wanted to test modern refillable e-cigarettes that would be more successful.
They randomly assigned 900 smokers to either use these e-cigarettes or any other nicotine replacement therapy of their choice, given free for three months. During the first month, participants saw a smoking cessation advisor once a week and were tested to see if they were straight and tight.
About 18 percent of those who tried vaping had stopped smoking after a year, compared to 10 percent of the other group.
According to Hajek, doctors should tell people who want to quit vaping that they have more chance of success – but people’s personal preferences also play a role. “There will still be a role for both methods.”
Experts disagree about the merits of vaping. In the UK, public health authorities tend to be more favorable on this, with Public Health England having stated that e-cigarettes have only 5 percent of the risks of smoking tobacco. Some doctors work with vape stores to help them with medical advice, and suggestions have been made for e-cigarettes to be made available through the National Health Service.
But elsewhere there is more concern that people who have never smoked will start vaping – or stick with vaping longer. In the United States, there is particular concern about Juul, an e-cigarette brand popular with teenagers.
Journal reference: NEJM, DOI: 10.1056 / NEJMoa1808779
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