E-cigarettes more likely to help smokers to quit than patches, study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th May 2014
Inside an e-cigarette

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help were approximately 60 per cent more likely to report succeeding if they used e-cigarettes than if they used willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, according to a new study published in the journal Addiction.

The study, undertaken by researchers at University College London, surveyed 5,863 smokers between 2009 and 2014 who had attempted to quit smoking without the aid of prescription medication or professional support.

E-cigarette users were more likely to report abstinence from smoking than either those who used over-the-counter aids or no aid at all. The adjusted odds of non-smoking in users of e-cigarettes were 1.63 times higher compared with users of other over-the-counter aids, and 1.61 times higher compared with those using no aid. One fifth (20 per cent) of people trying to quit with the aid of e-cigarettes reported having stopped smoking conventional cigarettes at the time of the survey.

“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” said Professor Robert West of UCL’s Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, and senior author of the study. “However, we should also recognise that the strongest evidence remains for use of the NHS stop-smoking services,” he said.

“These almost triple a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products,” Professor West said.

Australian Food News reported in September 2014 that another study had shown that e-cigarettes could be as effective as nicotine patches to help people quit smoking.

Australian Food News also reported in April 2014 that sales of e-cigarettes had grown 340 per cent in the UK in the last five years.