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New Study Reveals It’s Really Hard To Quit Smoking, But Financial Rewards Might Help

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It's no secret that smoking is a habit that's difficult to break, and a new study reinforces so. It also claims that e-cigarettes, once thought to immensely help curb the habit, might be useless after all.

Giving smokers free e-cigarettes may not help them end their habit, new research reveals, but there's another method that might — free money.

The findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, and it suggest those who were bribed money to quit smoking were the most successful of all test groups, which consisted of 6,000 smokers who were provided different tools to quit smoking. One group was given free nicotine patches, another group was provided motivational texts, another was given free e-cigarettes, and one group was given free medication or e-cigarettes plus $600.

Of the 6,000 participants, only 1.3 percent quit smoking after six months. Those who were given money fared better, and the researchers found that giving free e-cigarettes to smokers didn't really help them quit smoking.

E-Cigarettes Don't Work At All

The study offers the first large-scale evidence that giving e-cigarettes to chronic smokers isn't effective. The overall findings could also provide significant policy implications as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to rethink how it should regulate cigarette distribution and consumption.

"Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and nearly all large employers offer wellness programs aimed at getting people to quit," said lead author Scott D. Halpern. "The new study drives forward previous research by showing that even among smokers who are not cherry picked on the basis of their motivation to quit, financial incentives still triple quit rates, whereas offering free conventional cessation aids or free e-cigarettes accomplishes nothing at all."

More than anything, the study suggests that e-cigarettes isn't the miracle solution to a smoke-free lifestyle. However, that doesn't mean they can't be helpful for some people, according to Harvard professor Nancy Rigotti, as The Verge reports.

"We don't know that for sure, but we definitely need to find that out," she said.

Is Vaping Effective? Various Studies Tell Different Results

More and more people are resorting to vaporizers as a way to quit smoking, and public health officials around the world have continued to debate its efficacy and safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's currently not enough evidence to support the theory that e-cigarettes help people quit smoking, but studies on this topic vary. One study published last year suggested that vaping may help smokers quit the habit, but a study done by the CDC itself found that most people who use vapes to quit smoking still keep smoking traditional cigarettes.

This newest study adds credence to the notion that e-cigarettes don't help much toward quitting the hazardous habit.

"This study provides by far the most compelling evidence about this critical question, and suggests that offering people e-cigarettes for free doesn't help people quit," said Halpern.

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