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Study Finds Uncertain Results On E-Cigarettes As Useful Tool To Quit Smoking

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Vaping may not be as helpful as hoped for people who are trying to quit smoking, study finds. Are smoking medications still the best way to go?

E-Cigarettes To Quit Smoking?

Many people continue to use e-cigarettes even if there is still contention as to the safety of the product itself and when compared to tobacco. Some even use the product as a tool to quit smoking, but is it really effective? Among the participants of a new study, those who used e-cigarettes were found to be less likely to have quit smoking successfully within six months after participating in the study.

In order to gather their findings, researchers analyzed data from a previous study wherein 1,357 smokers who decided to quit smoking after hospitalization were assessed one, three, and six months after. Each participant was randomly assigned to either the free tobacco treatment or the tobacco treatment recommendation which included phone calls that provided advice and encouragement. Both groups were told that they could use e-cigarettes but advised that its effectiveness as a tool to quit smoking is still unknown.

Successful Quitters

After three months, 28 percent of the participants reported using e-cigarettes. Six months after the participants left the hospital, researchers were able to analyze their progress and whether e-cigarettes helped those who used them.

Interestingly, among the participants, 10 percent of those who reported using e-cigarettes were able to quit smoking, while 26 percent of those who did not use e-cigarettes at all also successfully quit smoking. This suggests that compared to those who did not use e-cigarettes, perhaps those who used e-cigarettes found it more difficult to quit smoking.

However, despite the results of the study, researchers still state that e-cigarettes' effectiveness in helping smokers to quit smoking remains to be uncertain. As such, they say that there is an urgent need for randomized, controlled trials to investigate e-cigarettes' effectiveness as a quitting tool.

"In the meantime, I would tell smokers who want to quit or cut down to use one of the FDA-approved smoking cessation medications, which are known to be safe and effective, as a first choice," suggests Nancy Rigotti, leader of the study that was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

E-Cigarette Use And Smoking

Just recently, it was found that e-cigarettes contain toxic metals that can be significantly harmful to the body. In fact, a new kind of e-cigarette called Juul has been bringing troubles in schools because it looks inconspicuously like a USB, making it easier for students to use it in class. The product is being marketed as a cigarette alternative.

This year, the FDA's new anti-smoking proposal involves reducing the allowed nicotine levels in cigarettes, making them less addictive.

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