Vaping Helps Smokers Quit New Research Shows

A European study found e-cigarettes nearly doubled long-term smoking cessation success rates compared to traditional quit methods alone. However, dual usage sustained higher nicotine addiction overall.

60% Quit Rate With Vaping

The University of Bern study tracked over 1,200 regular smokers for 6 months. One group received donated e-cigs/eliquids plus traditional counselling and nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like patches. The other group only received counselling and NRT products.

By conclusion, 60% of the vaping group fully quit smoking compared to just 40% quit rate for non-vapers. The 29% continual abstinence rate for the vaping group also doubled the non-vaping group’s 16% benchmark.

Lead author Dr. Reto Auer said these findings aligned with similar studies and growing evidence that vaping proves more effective for smoking cessation overall.

5-Year Safety Tracking Underway

While an early win for vaping efficacy, the Bern team continues tracking study participants for 5 years to carefully monitor longer-term health impacts. Goals center on clarifying respiratory and cardiovascular effects, plus observing dual usage rates.

As a primary care physician himself, Dr. Auer stresses understanding specific population health outcomes. Establishing vaping’s safety profile requires years of data as product maturity increases globally.

External experts like Dr. Sarah Jackson of the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at University College London reinforce the study’s usefulness supporting vaping’s superior quit potential. However concerns around attracting youth tempers sweeping embrace of vapes.

Balancing Risks: Adult Smoking vs Youth Uptake

Despite stronger evidence that e-cigs help established adult smokers quit, fears persist around enticing new young users toward lifelong nicotine addiction. The debate distills around properly balancing public health interests.

As Jackson notes, keeping vaping attractive for smoking switchers while guarding against youth uptake requires delicate trade-offs by policy makers. Removing flavors risks harming quit rates among adults while retaining them risks hooking more teens.

Auer echoes the central conundrum of restricting youth access but maintaining appeal for adult smokers facing the same dynamic challenges globally.

Next Steps: Monitor Dual Use & Safety

Early data clearly shows e-cigarettes help more determined smokers successfully quit when utilized alongside existing best practices. However, potentially concerning dual usage rates post-quitting require ongoing scrutiny.

As vaping products and research continue maturing in tandem, differentiating usage effects between adolescents, adults, and former smokers remains pivotal. While the data support vaping’s usefulness for cessation today, longitudinal tracking into safety and relapse risks should further inform appropriate regulations balancing public health interests.

Policy makers face difficult decisions around preventing youth addiction versus enabling adult quitting. But expanding safety evidence will help guide balanced, nuanced governance of these increasingly popular nicotine products worldwide.

Matthew Ma