Findings of a new UK study have found that e-cigarettes could be an effective smoking cessation tool when accompanied by behavioral support.
E-Cigarettes vs. Nicotine Replacement Therapy
The research showed that people are nearly twice as likely to succeed quitting smoking if they use e-cigarettes than when they use nicotine replacement patches and gums.
In a randomized controlled trial, researchers randomly assigned nearly 900 long-term middle-aged smokers to either use an e-cigarette kit or nicotine replacement therapy such as lozenges, sprays, patches, or gums.
The participants, who sought NHS' help to quit smoking, were all given behavioral support.
At the end of the year, 18 percent of the vapers were no longer smoking. In comparison, only about 10 percent of those who were given nicotine replacement therapy quit the habit.
Among the challenges smokers face when trying to give up smoking such as inability to concentrate and irritability were also found lower in those who used e-cigarettes.
At the end of the year, nearly 80 percent of the vapers were still using e-cigarettes, while only 9 percent of the participants in the other group continued with the nicotine replacement therapy.
First Trial To Compare Licensed Quitting Aids And E-Cigarettes
The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first trial to compare the efficacy of licensed quitting aids with e-cigarettes, which currently do not have license for medical use.
"E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioral support," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published on Jan. 30.
Study researcher Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, thinks the results could change how health professional give advice to smokers.
"Although a large number of smokers report that they have quit smoking successfully with the help of e-cigarettes, health professionals have been reluctant to recommend their use because of the lack of clear evidence from randomised controlled trials. This is now likely to change," Hajek said.