Daily E-cigarette Use: A Clear Benefit for Smokers Trying to Quit
A new study by King’s College London, published on No Smoking Day, suggests that daily use of e-cigarettes can help smokers quit and may be a more effective aid than traditional nicotine replacement therapies or medication.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in England, killing nearly 75,000 people in 2019. While the number of smokers has declined, smoking is still a prevalent habit among many. Fortunately, a new study by King’s College London, published on No Smoking Day, suggests that daily use of e-cigarettes can help smokers quit and may be a more effective aid than traditional nicotine replacement therapies or medication.
The Study and its Findings
Researchers analysed data from over 1,155 people, including smokers, ex-smokers who quit within a year prior to the study, and e-cigarette users, through five waves of data collected between 2012 and 2017. The study analysed the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in aiding abstinence from smoking for at least one month at follow-up, and at least one month of abstinence between the first survey and subsequent follow-up waves.
Our results show that when used daily, e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking, compared to no help at all. These findings are in line with previous research, showing that e-cigarettes are a more effective aid for quitting than nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medication.
– Dr Máirtín McDermott, Research Fellow at King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre and lead author of the study
The study (Published in the journal Addiction) found that people who used a refillable e-cigarette daily were over five times more likely to quit smoking for one month, compared to those using no quitting aids at all. Meanwhile, people who used a disposable or cartridge e-cigarette daily were three times more likely to quit for one month, compared to those using no help. In comparison, nicotine replacement therapy, medication such as bupropion or varenicline, or a combination of these aids, were not associated with abstinence from smoking at follow-up, compared to using no help at all.
The WHO has been concerned about the use of refillable e-cigarettes, as users may add harmful substances or higher levels of nicotine. However, the study shows that refillable types, in particular, are a very effective quitting aid when used daily, and this evidence should be factored into any future guidance around their use.
Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cautious stance on e-cigarettes, studies like ours show they are still one of the most effective quitting aids available.
– Dr Leonie Brose, Reader at King’s College London’s national Addiction Centre
The Importance of Daily Use
The study suggests that daily use of e-cigarettes is critical for successfully quitting smoking, and the effectiveness of e-cigarettes varies based on their type and frequency of use. The research indicates that more sporadic use of refillable e-cigarettes was not associated with abstinence. Therefore, it is crucial to routinely measure how often people use e-cigarettes to ensure their effectiveness.
While e-cigarettes have been around for over a decade, evidence on their effectiveness in quitting smoking has been limited, with previous studies producing inconsistent findings. However, this new study published in the journal Addiction offers a clear benefit of using e-cigarettes, particularly refillable types, daily to quit smoking. If you are a smoker trying to quit, e-cigarettes may be a beneficial aid to consider, and daily use could increase your chances of success.