March 25, 2014
No Evidence That Electronic Cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking: Study
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco surveyed 949 smokers to determine whether E-cigarettes actually help people quit smoking; participants in the study used both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.
The researchers analyzed self-reported data from the smokers to determine if the e-cigarettes were associated with more successful cessation attempts or reduced cigarette consumption. They found that e-cigarette use at baseline was not linked with quitting one year later or with a change in cigarette consumption.
According to the study results, e-cigarette users were less likely to have quit at seven months later than nonusers.
The scientists also found that more women, younger adults and people who had less education used e-cigarettes.
The study’s findings may only be taken with a grain of salt because 88 (9.3 percent) of the participants actually used e-cigarettes at baseline.
"Nonetheless, our data add to the current evidence that e-cigarettes may not increase rates of smoking cessation. Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence,” the authors wrote in the journal.
The team says that advertising suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective as a smoking cessation should be prohibited until these claims are supported by evidence.
"Unfortunately, the evidence on whether e-cigarettes help smokers to quit is contradictory and inconclusive. Grana and colleagues increase the weight of evidence indicating that e-cigarettes are not associated with higher rates of smoking cessation,” Mitchell H. Katz, MD, a deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, said in a statement.
Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, says researchers should think of e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes.
He told the BBC that the new study shows that e-cigarettes appeal to smokers who are heavily dependent on tobacco, and the same results could be found if the survey looked at smokers trying other nicotine-replacement treatments.