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E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes unhelpful for cancer patients, study suggests

Man smoking e-cigarette, which is not a reliable smoking cessation aid, according to cancer research

Source: Amelie-Benoist / BSIP / Science Photo Library

Researchers have found that e-cigarette users were as likely to be smoking at the time of follow-up as non-users

The effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking has been cast in doubt after research published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society (online, 22 September 2014)[1].

Researchers monitored 1,074 people enrolled in a quit programme at a cancer centre in the United States and found that e-cigarette users were as likely to be smoking at the time of follow-up as non-users (44.1% versus 43.1% respectively).

Furthermore, the e-cigarette user group were more nicotine dependent (51.8% versus 32.2%), had tried to quit more often (76.5% reporting at least two attempts to give up compared to 66.7% of non-users) and were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer of the head, neck or lung (36.2% versus 27%) than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Nicotine dependence was assessed using the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), a 6-item scale with scores ranging from 0 to 10, with scores of 0 to 4 coded as indicating lower nicotine dependence and scores of 5 indicating higher nicotine dependence.

The study authors say their findings raise doubts about the usefulness of e-cigarettes in helping patients with cancer to quit. They conclude that quit services should focus on regulator-approved aids and counselling and urge advice be issued on the potential risk and lack of proven benefits of e-cigarette use. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066563

Readers' comments (1)

  • A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics By JOHN TIERNEY Published: November 7, 2011
    Writing in Harm Reduction Journal this year, Dr. Rodu concludes that the F.D.A.’s results (re: e-cigarettes) “are highly unlikely to have any possible significance to users” because it detected chemicals at “about one million times lower concentrations than are conceivably related to human health.” His conclusion is shared by Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health.
    “It boggles my mind why there is a bias against e-cigarettes among antismoking groups,” Dr. Siegel said. He added that it made no sense to fret about hypothetical risks from minuscule levels of several chemicals in e-cigarettes when the alternative is known to be deadly: cigarettes containing thousands of chemicals, including dozens of carcinogens and hundreds of toxins. See Story http://buye-cig.weebly.com/e-cigarette-research

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