Study Shows E-Cigarettes Can Effectively Help Adults Quit Smoking
On March 25th, media reported that Dr. Kenneth E. Warner, an emeritus professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Department of Health Management and Policy, said that there is sufficient evidence to support the use of e-cigarettes as an aid for adult smoking cessation.
E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are handheld, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid containing propylene glycol and/or glycerin, flavoring compounds, and usually nicotine, to produce an aerosol for users to inhale or vape.
Warner stated that e-cigarettes are not a miracle cure for ending the harm caused by smoking, but they can contribute to this lofty public health goal. For adults who want to quit smoking, e-cigarettes are an important, less harmful alternative to continuing smoking.
The study, conducted by Dr. Kenneth E. Warner from the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Department of Health Management and Policy, and Neal L. Benowitz from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, was published in Nature Medicine. Researchers from the National Addiction Center at King’s College London and the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, including McNeill and Nancy A. Rigotti, investigated the impact of e-cigarettes on health and reviewed different countries’ regulations or support for e-cigarettes.
Each author participated in numerous studies and conducted a comprehensive review of e-cigarettes, covering their potential to help adults quit smoking, their health consequences, and clinical care evidence adopted by governments and medical institutions worldwide regarding the role of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation. Warner’s research focuses on determining the impact of tobacco control policies, reducing tobacco harm, using lower-risk nicotine delivery products as alternatives to smoking cigarettes, regulatory policies related to e-cigarettes, and the potential benefits and ability to help adults quit smoking.
The study further pointed out that promoting e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool may depend on ongoing efforts to reduce exposure and use of these products among young people who have never smoked. These two goals can and should coexist.
The study acknowledges the good success rates in smoking cessation in the United Kingdom and the United States. Compared to other products on the market, e-cigarettes are considered more effective alternatives. An independent review commissioned by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as well as the UK Department of Health and Social Care, concluded that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
Health experts and inspectors reveal that government agencies in the United States and Canada acknowledge the potential benefits of using e-cigarettes. In contrast, government health agencies and medical associations in the United Kingdom and New Zealand openly support and promote e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. The study even identified public education activities promoting smoking cessation.
Warner stated that governments, medical professional groups, and individual healthcare professionals in countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia should consider the potential of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation more seriously.
In the Philippines, tobacco control is considered a public health priority and a key development issue that affects overall health and well-being.
“Worldwide, the growing scientific evidence supporting e-cigarettes and the increasing number of medical experts supporting e-cigarettes can no longer be ignored. Today, there are 17.3 million smokers in the Philippines. As a doctor, I have a responsibility to encourage them to seek alternatives that are proven to be safer than traditional cigarettes,” said the researcher.