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Vaping 2x better for quitting smoking than patches, gum
02 February 2019, 09:22 | Silvia Roy
Vaping 2x better for quitting smoking than patches, gum
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was created to test the effectiveness of refillable e-cigarettes alongside a range of standard therapies to help people give up smoking, including nicotine patches, chewing gum, lozenges, inhalators and sprays.
The study team acknowledged, however, that prior research has demonstrated that when nicotine replacement products are paired with prescription medications - such as the nicotine receptor blocker Chantix (varenicline) and/or bupropion one year abstinence rates are the same or higher as the e-cig results.
This analysis led the National Academies of Sciences to conclude in a 2018 report that there is "substantial evidence" that e-cigarette use increases the risk for cigarette-smoking tobacco-naive youth. "E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioral support", the researchers wrote in their study, which was published on January 30. At the end of the year, 18 percent of the vapers were no longer smoking.
The World Health Organization is concerned about cancer-causing chemicals in the devices and the European Union believes e-cigarettes may act as a "gateway" to tobacco. A previous review estimated that e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking tobacco, by about 95%.
Some research has previously suggested e-cigarettes might help smokers cut back or quit altogether, but other studies have raised concerns about their use among teenagers.
E-cigarettes could potentially be useful tools for adult smokers seeking to quit, but they are not without various health risks.
A higher proportion of those who used the devices experienced mouth and throat irritation (65 percent v 51 percent), although people using the nicotine-replacement treatments were more likely to report nausea (38 percent v 31 percent). After one year, 18 percent of e-cigarette users were smoke-free, versus 9.9 percent of those using the other products.
Ian Armitage was skeptical about e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking, saying he tried vaping several years ago but gave it up after experiencing twitching and shakes from nicotine withdrawal.
The report was released on the same day as a separate study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that found common e-cigarette flavors may harm users' lungs. And even though the study participants who attempted to quit by vaping were given the choice of just one product, the results were impressive.
"We really isolated a very low-risk group of youth, and within that group experimentation with e-cigarettes had a pronounced effect on subsequent cigarette uptake", Stokes said.
Yet, the FDA's current and continued actions against the e-cigarette industry are impeding current smokers' access to e-cigarettes.
That might not seem like a huge success rate, but it's notoriously hard to quit smoking.
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'All stop smoking services should welcome smokers who want to quit with the help of an e-cigarette'.
However, people who switched to vaping were far more likely to keep vaping, indicating they may have exchanged one nicotine delivery device for another, without ever beating their addiction.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb proposed measures in November for restricting sales of most flavored e-cigarettes and limiting them to specialized shops and online retailers that can verify a purchaser's age. Any benefit of e-cigarettes depends on the individual product and how it is used, he said.
Because of the nature of the treatments, it wasn't possible to disguise from people whether they were using e-cigarettes or NRT products.
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