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Study backs merit of e-cigs for quitting

01 February 2019 08:57

Vaping may be the most effective quit treatment around

Vaping may be the most effective quit treatment around

Smokers are almost twice as likely to quit with the help of e-cigarettes than if they rely on nicotine patches or gum, a study has found.

A major trial involving almost 900 smokers found that 18% of e-cigarette users had abandoned their habit after a year.

In contrast, only 9.9% of participants making use of other forms of nicotine replacement therapy succeeded in quitting.

First modern trial

Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, said: "This is the first trial to test the efficacy of modern e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit. E-cigarettes were almost twice as effective as the 'gold standard' combination of nicotine replacement products.

"Although a large number of smokers report that they have quit smoking successfully with the help of e-cigarettes, health professionals have been reluctant to recommend their use because of the lack of clear evidence from randomised controlled trials. This is now likely to change."

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was designed to test the effectiveness of refillable e-cigarettes alongside a range of standard therapies to help people give up smoking, including nicotine patches, chewing gum, lozenges, inhalators and sprays.

A total of 886 smokers attended NHS Stop Smoking Services in London, Leicester and East Sussex.

They were randomly given either a nicotine replacement treatment of their choice, or an e-cigarette starter pack with one or two refill bottles.

All participants received weekly one-to-one behavioural support for at least four weeks.

E-cigarettes were used more frequently and for longer, the trial found. Less irritable

In addition, e-cigarette users experienced less severe urges to smoke, one and four weeks after quitting.

They also reported less irritability, restlessness and poor concentration in the first week after giving up smoking, said the researchers.

Martin Dockrell, from Public Health England, said: "This landmark research shows that switching to an e-cigarette can be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, especially when combined with face-to-face support.

"All stop smoking services should welcome smokers who want to quit with the help of an e-cigarette."

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