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Smoking cessation

Smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit

New research suggests that smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit than those who do not use the devices

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Smokers who used e-cigarettes were less likely to have quit or reduced their cigarette consumption compared with those who had never used e-cigarettes, research suggests

It has been argued that e-cigarettes are of benefit to smokers as an alternative to cigarettes. New research counters this proposition by suggesting that smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit than those who do not use the devices.

The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health[1] (online, 16 April 2015), included 1,000 smokers in California who were assessed twice, 12 months apart. At baseline, one quarter of the sample had used e-cigarettes. At the end of follow-up, e-cigarette users were significantly less likely to have quit or reduced their cigarette consumption compared with those who had never used e-cigarettes.

“Smokers who have used e-cigarettes may be at increased risk for not being able to quit smoking,” conclude the authors. They say the findings have important policy and regulation implications. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068450

Readers' comments (1)

  • “It is crucial to distinguish between the use of e-cigarettes as aids to quitting and the use of e-cigarettes for any other purpose, such as recreation, and whether this impacts on a person’s likelihood of quitting smoking".

    This is a quote from the article published in the PJ dated 23 May 2014 'E-cigarettes help smokers quit, according to study', and quotes the authors from University College London (UCL), published in Addiction on 21 May 2014, and used data from the Smoking Toolkit Study .

    I am an advocate of the benefits of e-cigarette use as the common-sense approach to reduce or avoid altogether the damaging habit of smoking. I think there is a risk that such a study when reported with the title ‘smokers who use e-cigarettes are less likely to quit’ might be misrepresenting the research, because we do not know from the published abstract of research here whether these users of e-cigarettes had any intention or desire what-so-ever to quit smoking or reduce or quit their e-cigarette use in the period of the study or thereafter.

    I am not a scientist wishing to go into the details of the studies here, but just would like to suggest to readers to keep an open mind about what is reported in the press as this is a good example of how presentation of research can so easily be potentially misleading.

    Knowing the researchers in the UK, and the quality of the research presented in the Smoking Toolkit Study for example, I feel confident that I can have some trust in that research. And it is my personal experience with smokers who switch to e-cigarettes, that they can and do help reduce or quit their smoking in many, many cases.

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