Vaping Electronic Cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking

Two Reports Show Vaping Electronic Cigarettes Helped People Quit Smoking

Background: E-cigarettes heat liquid laced with nicotine into a vapor. The global market for vaping products is estimated at around $7 billion in 2015. Vaping electronic cigarettes have been used by some individuals as a way to help quit smoking tobacco products. How effective e-cigarettes are for this purpose is unknown.
There are numerous types for vaping electronic cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are displayed in a store.

 Study 1. Researchers at University College London analyzed results on smokers who participated in the Smoking Toolkit Study – a survey of households of those 16 years of age and older in England. Information was collected on about 170,490 smokers between 2006 and 2015.  21% were current smokers. The authors estimated that in 2015 e-cigarettes alone may have helped about 18,000 smokers quit cigarettes who would not otherwise have quit. The study was published in the British Medical Journal on September 13, 2016, volume 354 (doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4645)
Person vaping electronic cigarette

A person vaping e-cigarette.

Study 2: A Cochrane review evaluated 11 new studies about electronic cigarettes published since 2014. The review found that electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine can help people stop smoking. The Cochrane committee stated, “There was no evidence of serous side effects form e-cigarette use over a two year period.”  Comments: Dr. John Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, commented about the Cochrane report, “The evidence is clear, smoking kills. If you can’t stop smoking, if you can switch to another form of nicotine and that lets you stop smoking, then that is great.” Ms. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said, “Taken together, the Cochrane review and the BMJ article provide further reassurance that e-cigarettes are not undermining quitting. Indeed, the evidence from England, where smoking prevalence is continuing to decline, is the e-cigarette use is associated with a higher rate of successful quit attempts by smokers.”

Donald A. Mahler, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. He works as a pulmonary physician at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH, where he is Director of Respiratory Services.