A major new study has shown that e-cigarettes or vapes are nearly twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapies in helping smokers quit cigarettes.
Conducted in the UK, the yearlong study followed 886 smokers who were randomly assigned to use either e-cigarettes or NRTs, including patches, gums and lozenges. Both groups also participated in at least four weekly counseling sessions.
After one year, 18 percent of e-cigarette users had successfully quit smoking, compared to 9.9 percent of those using NRTs. In addition, more e-cigarette users reduced their smoking by at least 50 percent; e-cigarette users also reported higher satisfaction and rated the device as more helpful than NRTs.
“Despite strict government regulation, high taxes, and extensive public awareness campaigns, smoking remains a major public health issue in the Philippines where almost 1 in 4 Filipino adults are smokers. This landmark study provides the strongest evidence to date that e-cigarettes are a viable smoking cessation tool and should be included in the country’s current tobacco control strategy,” said Joey Dulay, president of the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association.
“We urge the Department of Health and local legislators and doctors to consider the results of this important study. E-cigarettes can address weaknesses in currently available quit-smoking tools such as nicotine replacement therapies, and help smokers stop cigarette smoking for good,” said Peter Paul Dator, president of The Vapers Philippines.
The 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey revealed that 23.8 percent of Filipino adults are smokers. The smoking rate among Filipino women (5.8 percent) is among the highest in Asean. The average age of smoking initiation among Filipino daily smokers is 17.8 years according to The Tobacco Control Atlas: Asean region.
Study author Dr. Dunja Przulj believes that the study’s findings could change the way healthcare providers look at e-cigarettes and may help convince them to encourage smokers to try vaping as a smoking cessation tool.
“The UK specialist stop smoking services will now be more likely to include e-cigarettes among their treatment options, and health professionals will feel more comfortable in recommending e-cigarettes as a stop-smoking intervention. This may ultimately further accelerate the reduction in smoking and in smoking-related diseases,” said Dr. Przulj, a research health psychologist at Queen Mary University of London.
The study was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals. It was funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research, the most integrated health research system in the world, and the largest national clinical research funder in Europe.
“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 [counseling] support,” said Martin Dockrell, tobacco control program lead for Public Health England.