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E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies that help smokers quit



Many smokers have successfully stopped switching to e-cigarettes, but doctors cannot recommend this treatment without good clinical trial evidence. Now they have this evidence. Our latest research confirms that e-cigarettes are indeed an effective way to quit smokers.

In an investigation published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 900 smokers wishing to quit were randomly divided into one of two groups. One group was given nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) – mostly combinations of nicotine patches with shorter action, such as nicotine chewing gum, inhaler or oral spray. The second group was given a refillable e-cigarette with one or two e-liquid bottles and taught how to use the device. Then they were encouraged to buy more of their choice at their own discretion with nicotine strengths and flavors. Both groups also received weekly direct support for at least the first four weeks of the study.

When heavy smokers try to quit, they often feel miserable in fighting smoking, irritability, and low mood. The group using e-cigarettes had fewer symptoms than the NRT group. They also found that e-cigarettes are more useful and satisfactory, although they did not consider e-cigarettes or NRTs to be suitable cigarettes.

Vapers retained its early advantage during the study. At the end of the year, almost twice as many people in the e-cigarette group were restrained throughout the year compared to the NRT group (18% vs. 10%).

Strong difference

At the start of the study, both groups used treatment almost daily. However, there was a big difference over time. About 40% of smokers in the e-cigarette group were steam for another year, but only 4% of the NRT group still used nicotine replacement. Among those who did not smoke for one year, the proportion using e-cigarettes was 80% and the use of NRT was 9%.

Among the smokers who failed to quit, there were some in both study groups who reduced their smoke intake by at least 50%, while in the e-cigarette group they were significantly higher (13% vs. 7%).

However, prolonged refraining from long-term deterrents could be seen as a disadvantage if the use of e-cigarettes for one year leads to steaming over many years and if it causes health problems. Although it is estimated that the risk to long-term health risks is less than 5% of the risks of smoking (in one gold standard study on the use of more than two years of e-cigarettes, no health risk was found). risk.

But the fact that many heavy smokers in our study stopped smoking was a good thing. Dependent smokers who leave NRT and continue to use these products in the long run are known to reduce the risk of relapse, so the increased use of e-cigarettes can reduce the risk of relapse. The current steaming also protected these heavy smokers from the usual side effects of smoking, such as irritability and weight gain. And the rarely discussed issue is that some smokers really enjoy smoking, and steaming can help them maintain that pleasure.

These ex-smokers, of course, continue to use nicotine, but do not have a major negative impact on the health of cigarettes. The health risks caused by smoking are mainly from burning chemicals emitted from the burning tobacco. People using non-combustible nicotine, such as Swedish snus users and short- or long-term users of nicotine replacement products, do not appear to have a negative impact on health, but smoking causes premature death in around half of the middle-aged smoker.

Chemicals that help burn cigarettes mostly carcinogenic.
Catence / Shutterstock

We continue to follow the trial participants and ultimately obtain data on how long the prolonged vapors will last and what is their impact on their health and the number of relapses. Meanwhile, doctors can tell smokers that there is good evidence that vapors can help them quit.


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