Research: Vaping Helps Smokers Quit

Posted 6th February 2020 by Dave Cross
Former smokers who quit tobacco within the last five years are likely to use e-cigarettes, while vaping is rare among those who quit more than a decade ago, reveals the findings of research by Konstantinos Farsalinos and Anastasia Barbouni, published online in British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control.

According to the press release, the authors say their findings suggest that today's smokers who want to quit are using e-cigarettes as an aid whereas in the past quitters had to rely on other smoking cessation aids, so few long-standing quitters have tried e-cigarettes.

And it appears that smokers find e-cigarettes a useful and effective quitting aid, as current users of e-cigarettes are more likely to be recent quitters than non-users, and some successful quitters then stop using e-cigarettes.

As e-cigarettes are consumer products and are generally used without medical supervision or support, there have been concerns that vaping may become an adjunct or replacement for smoking tobacco products. Numerous studies have tried to determine whether e-cigarettes help smokers quit, but they have produced conflicting results.

This is an observational study, so can't establish cause. Limitations of the study include that interviewees self-reported their use of e-cigarettes, smoking status and time since quitting. Also, no data were gathered on participants' motivation to quit, the types of e-cigarette devices they used, or whether any additional smoking cessation methods were employed, all of which may have impacted on quitting success.

Dr Farsalinos said: “Unsurprisingly, and in agreement with other studies, we found a strong association between current daily e-cigarette use and being a former (rather than a current) smoker. Specifically, we found that daily e-cigarette use was associated with 5-fold higher odds of having quit smoking in 2015-2017, and with 3-fold higher odds of having quit smoking in 2012-2015. Another important finding of the study was that e-cigarette use was extremely rare among former smokers who had quit before the availability of e-cigarettes, showing that e-cigarettes do not result in relapse to an inhalational habit for these former smokers.”

“The study provides additional evidence that smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit with other approved methods should be encouraged to switch to e-cigarettes.”

“Unfortunately, the current global environment is so intimidating that smokers are discouraged from using e-cigarettes while vapers are relapsing back to smoking due to fear about their health. This is an irony and is in complete disagreement with research on e-cigarettes safety/risk profile and efficacy as smoking substitutes. Unfortunately, emotions, dogmatism and politics are currently prevailing over scientific evidence, and this is damaging for public health. I hope the European authorities will consider the current and many other studies and take appropriate steps to tackle the misinformation on e-cigarettes.”

Related:

  • “Association between electronic cigarette use and smoking cessation in the European Union in 2017: analysis of a representative sample of 13 057 Europeans from 28 countries” by Farsalinos and Barbouni – [link]


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker