As if the debate over electronic cigarettes wasn’t controversial enough, new research suggest e-cigs could help smokers who are unwilling to quit to remain abstinent or reduce consumption significantly, as discovered by a team of Italian researchers who conducted the study and clinical trial Effect of an Electronic Nicotine Delivery Device (e-Cigarette) on Smoking Reduction and Cessation: A Prospective 6-Month Pilot Study.
While numerous studies have already revealed that e-cigarettes may be effective as a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product for smokers interested in quitting, scientists are now finding that e-cigarettes may be effective at reducing or suppressing smoking even in smokers not interested in quitting. In fact, the American Association of Public Health Physicians recommends that “e-cigarettes саn аnd ѕhουld bе marketed аѕ a substitute fοr conventional cigarettes fοr smokers unable οr unwilling tο quit.”
A recent study published in the BMC Public Health journal presents new evidence that e-cigarettes could be more effective than traditional NRT as means to help people quit smoking. The clinical trial on which the research was based used 40 healthy smokers who were unwilling to quit and who were provided with e-cigarettes. The participants were neither advised nor encouraged to stop smoking and with no supervision other than a baseline assessment and four study visits, the modifications, if any, in their smoking habits were monitored over the course of 24 weeks. Intervention was minimal and the smokers were simply told to use the e-cigarettes as they wished
The discoveries made by the team were both groundbreaking and surprising. Over the 6-month course of the study, 22.5% of the participants had quit smoking, while another 32.5% had cut down their cigarette consumption by at least half. In other words, over one-half of the smokers were able to quit, or significantly cut down their cigarette use. This outcome is especially impressive, considering that the six-month quit rate for FDA approved cessation aids is well below 20% and those results are derived from smokers who want to quit and are followed closely in the clinical setting. Researchers concluded that “the use of e-Cigarette substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in smokers not intending to quit.”
While the evidence for the e-cigarette as a successful and thus far, harmless smoking cessation device is accumulating, most public health associations remain opposed to the device. However, “current smoking cessation interventions can increase the chance of quitting in committed smokers who are already motivated and prepared to stop smoking. Although not formally regulated as a pharmaceutical product, the e-cigarette can help smokers to remain abstinent or reduce their cigarette consumption. By replacing tobacco cigarettes, the e-cigarette can only save lives.”
Tags: electronic cigarettes