Electronic cigarettes are not as helpful as other smoking cessation aids in helping smokers successfully quit, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in Tobacco Control.
Ruifeng Chen, from University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation from 2017 to 2019, given the 2017 increase in high nicotine e-cigarette sales. The analysis included 3,578 previous-year smokers with a recent quit attempt and 1,323 recent former smokers.
The researchers found that 12.6 percent of recent quit attempters used e-cigarettes to help with their quit attempt, a decline from previous years. For e-cigarette users, cigarette abstinence (9.9 percent) was lower than for no product use (18.6 percent). The adjusted risk differences for e-cigarettes versus pharmaceutical aids was −7.3 percent, and for e-cigarettes versus any other method, the adjusted risk difference was −7.7 percent. Among recent former smokers, 2.2 percent switched to a high nicotine e-cigarette. While not statistically significant, individuals who switched to e-cigarettes had a higher relapse rate than those who did not switch to e-cigarettes or other tobacco.
“There is evidence that cigarette smokers were starting to use high nicotine e-cigarettes by 2019 and further follow-up in PATH [Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health] is needed to see whether these changes result in future cessation benefit,” the authors write.
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