According to the Cochrane Collaboration paper: “stopping smoking is associated with large health benefits. Despite most smokers wanting to quit, few manage to succeed in the long term. Almost half who try to quit without support will not manage to stop for even a week, and fewer than 5% remain abstinent at one year after quitting.”
Out of the thirteen trials that matched the criteria for analysis, researchers highlighted two that they felt were at the least risk of bias. One was conducted in New Zealand and the other in Italy, and measured whether people had quit smoking for at least six months. In one study, people wanted to quit smoking, but in the other study, they did not. The trial in people who wanted to quit smoking also compared ECs to nicotine patches. The rest of the studies did not put people into treatment groups so could not directly compare ECs with something else.
The researchers combined the results from the two studies. In total, over 600 people were looked at. The results showed that using an electronic cigarette containing nicotine increased the chances of stopping smoking long-term compared to using an electronic cigarette without nicotine.
Also, using an electronic cigarette with nicotine helped smokers reduce the amount they smoked by at least half compared to using an electronic cigarette without nicotine. In the opinion of the researchers, they were unable to state that electronic cigarettes are more successful than a nicotine patches as they felt the number of participants in the study was low.
One conclusion is that further studies are needed to evaluate this effect. The study did find that people who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to reduce the quantity of cigarettes smoked by at least half when compared to smokers using an NRT patch.
The researchers also mentioned that although they felt other studies “were of lower quality” they still supported these findings. They felt that no evidence existed to categorically state that dual fuelling made people less likely to quit smoking. No evidence existed to show that smokers who vaped for 2 years or less had an increased health risk compared to smokers who did not use electronic cigarettes.