Leader comment: Jury is out on e-cigarettes

  • Leader comment: Jury is out on e-cigarettes

Leader comment: Jury is out on e-cigarettes

It showed a drastic increase to 5.6 per cent in 2014-2015, representing about 350,000 decreased smokers.

The global scientific community is divided over e-cigarettes and whether they are a useful public health tool as a nicotine replacement therapy or a potential "gateway" for young people to move on to start smoking tobacco.

Linking e-cigarette to an impressive rise in the numbers of people quitting smoking, a new study found that smokers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to kick the habit than others. Those who didn't use such a method had only a 38 percent rate of attempting to quit.

Smoking rates have been generally declining for decades. During that span, smoking cessation rates increased from 4.5% to 5.6%, an absolute difference that might appear small but would represent approximately 350,000 additional U.S. smokers who quit in 2014-2015, say researchers.

What happened during this period that might account for the change?

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 2.9 million adults vaping regularly. Then, the rates were compared with four previous surveys.

In an interview with MedPage Today, Zhu explained that quit rates in the USA remained steady, at around 4.5% a year, until 2014 when they increased to 5.6%.

The results revealed that 65 per cent of vapers try to quit smoking versus 40 per cent of non-users.

Tobacco companies want USA regulators to approve new marketing claims for smokeless products as a safer alternative to smoking, and some public-health advocates agree.

In the new study, researchers looked at data on the smoking habits of more than 160,000 Americans, taking particular note of whether these smokers reported using e-cigarettes or not. "That way, smokers can get what they want without killing themselves", he said.

The AHA said it is reasonable for physicians to support a patient's use of an e-cigarette to stop smoking if they have failed approved therapies and would like to try this approach.

The study further suggests that e-cigarettes, rather than other factors such as higher taxes or anti-tobacco campaigns, were responsible for the increased rate of quitting. "But analysis of the [Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement] most recent data presents a strong case that e-cigarette use contributed to an increase in smoking cessation at the population level". But it did find that e-cigs do have a role in helping people quit.

"We don't know a lot about the effects of e-cigarettes in any dimension", said Warner.

Earlier this month, a House panel renewed its efforts to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market.

Mr Hajek said: 'It's absolutely clear that e-cigarettes help smokers replace cigarettes'.

"If every smoker was to change over to e-cigarettes completely, there would be a dramatic and nearly immediate public health benefit", he conveyed through an email.