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Electronic Cigarettes, As Used, Aren’t Helping Smokers Quit, study shows
Electronic Cigarettes, As Used, Aren’t Helping Smokers Quit, study shows

Electronic Cigarettes, As Used, Aren’t Helping Smokers Quit, study shows

Electronic cigarettes, better known as e- cigarettes have become a worldwide alternative to smoking cigarettes for many people. These disposable or battery charge devices allow smokers to maintain their fix. But is it really safer than cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are widely promoted and used to help smokers quit traditional cigarettes, but a new analysis from UC San Francisco found that adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are actually 28 percent less likely to stop smoking cigarettes.

The study — a systematic review and meta-analysis of published data — is the largest to quantify whether e-cigarettes assist smokers in quitting cigarettes.

The findings will be published online January 14 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

“As currently being used, e-cigarettes are associated with significantly less quitting among smokers,” concluded first author Sara Kalkhoran, MD who was a clinical fellow at the UCSF School of Medicine when the research was conducted. She is now at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“E-cigarettes should not be recommended as effective smoking cessation aids until there is evidence that, as promoted and used, they assist smoking cessation,” Kalkhoran wrote.

Less Likely to Quit Smoking
Electronic cigarettes, known by a variety of names including vapor pens, are battery-powered devices that heat nicotine and flavorings to deliver an aerosol inhaled by the user. While they are promoted as a way to quit traditional cigarettes, they also are promoted as a way to get nicotine in environments where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, even though more than 430 cities and several states ban their use in smoke free sites where conventional cigarettes are also prohibited.

In 2015, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend the devices to help adults quit smoking. No e-cigarette company has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve e-cigarettes for smoking cession, and the FDA has not taken any action against companies that claim e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.

In their analysis, the UCSF team reviewed 38 studies assessing the association between e-cigarette use and cigarette cessation among adult smokers. They then combined the results of the 20 studies that had control groups of smokers not using e-cigarettes in a meta-analysis that concluded that the odds of quitting smoking were 28 percent lower in smokers who used e-cigarettes compared to those who did not.

There were no language restrictions imposed on the studies, which included both real-world observational as well as clinical studies. The studies included smokers who both were and were not interested in quitting, and included people as young as 15 years old.

The studies included in the analysis controlled for many variables, including demographics, past attempts to quit, and level of nicotine dependence.

“The irony is that quitting smoking is one of the main reasons both adults and kids use e-cigarettes, but the overall effect is less, not more, quitting,” said co-author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “While there is no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff on a conventional cigarette, the most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking conventional cigarettes.”

“The fact that they are freely available consumer products could be important,” Glantz added.

Regulation Could Influence E-Cig Marketing
E-cigarette regulation has the potential to influence marketing and reasons for use, the authors wrote:

“The inclusion of e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws and voluntary smoke-free policies could help decrease use of e-cigarettes as a cigarette substitute, and, perhaps, increase their effectiveness for smoking cessation. The way e-cigarettes are available on the market — for use by anyone and for any purpose — creates a disconnect between the provision of e-cigarettes for cessation as part of a monitored clinical trial and the availability of e-cigarettes for use by the general population.”


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    1. You can twist any data to suit the outcome you want . I do not believe this study. AS I personally know almost thirty people who quit smoking by using these devices.

    2. After smoking cigarettes,cigars and a pipe for more than forty years, I quit with the aid of an e-cigarette. I unsuccessfully tried nicotene gum, patches, cold turkey, you name it. At this juncture, (a year later), I inhale one or two puffs on my e-cigarette daily. I would say that this has been successful.

    3. I use e-cigarettes for my nicotine addiction. I used chewing tobacco for many years and I switched to the e-cigarettes. I used nicotine gum and patches many times and I couldnt beat my addiction. Now I can get my nicotine fix for a fraction of the price (economically and physically). Nobody thinks they are getting healthy by using these, but it is the lesser evil by far. E-Juice is much cheaper then tobacco, its even cheaper then the gum or patches. 30 dollars has me set for a week and a half. Not everyone addicted to nicotine smokes tobacco, I know some people stuck on the gum now for over 2 years. I often wonder if nicotine is made from gold, since it seems to cost so much money. No wonder there might be interest to scare people from using vaporizers.

    4. Article says: “adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are actually 28 percent less likely to stop smoking cigarettes.”
      I see this as good news because, adult smokers are now 72 percent likely to stop smoking cigarettes, which is why i now vape instead of smoke. The casualties of this trend is large corporations and governments who I suspect contribute to the spin on this so-called study. The bottom line is that my health is better, I am saving hundreds of dollars each month and I am supporting small business.

    5. Mista Dobalina

      Wow! Shocking!, good there was a study done.

      • Our governments are reluctant to study or disclose studies on the effects of e-cigarettes vs tobacco. Opponents of e-cigarettes are unlikely to disclose the true effects of e-cigarettes vs tobacco. Why would someone disclose information which may reduce the amount of revenue they receive? If i was a large tobacco corporation I would either discredit or produce e-cigarettes. Discrediting e-cigarettes is likely cheaper.

    6. The CDC just released a study of the effects of regulation on e-cigarettes. It determined that regulation will discourage e-cigarette use by both old and young smokers. A 2013 e-cigarette user survey study funded by the CDC had a table in it that showed 89% of e-cigarette users quit smoking altogether. The table wasn’t discussed or mentioned in the abstract or conclusion or any press release. The CDC seems to want to keep smokers smoking with the blatant demonizing campaign they are running against the very safe e-cigarette in the media.

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