The use of electronic cigarettes (commonly known as e-cigarettes) has become increasingly popular with certain groups of people for several reasons. Some conclude that the use of e-cigarettes is less toxic and less damaging from a personal health perspective. Others contend that these products are necessary for the purposes of smoking cessation. The manufacturers of these products have also previously extolled the virtues of e-cigarettes also as a credible method of smoking cessation.
However, some very interesting new research has emerged which clarifies this very important issue. A new published report has indicated that smoking electronic cigarettes is not a viable method for smoking cessation.
No Help with Smoking Cessation
Research that assessed the smoking habits and e-cigarette utilization in a large U.S. sample of 1,549 subjects found that these products were not associated with smoking cessation after one year of follow-up.
According to the study’s author, Rachel A. Grana of the University of California, “[W]e found that e-cigarette use by smokers was not followed by greater rates of quitting or by reduction in cigarette consumption 1 year later.”
The results of this study certainly reflect other findings that have looked at the same issue. Recent work conducted on teens found that the use of e-cigarettes did not result in greater rates of smoking but actually increased the risk of nicotine addiction in this very vulnerable population. An additional study also discovered that the use of e-cigarettes was not associated with a greater rate of smoking cessation after one year. This study also indicated that 85% of the subjects who used these products were specifically doing so in order to quit smoking.
The researchers also found that women and younger adults were more likely to use e-cigarettes. In addition, those who used e-cigarettes reported using their first cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking compared with those who did not use these products. More importantly, the use of e-cigarettes was not associated with an intention to quit smoking. This information indicates that these products are very addictive and attract younger people who use them for reasons other than smoking cessation.
The authors of this study also suggested, “[O]ur data add to the current evidence that e-cigarettes may not increase rates of smoking cessation. Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”
In my opinion, e-cigarettes are just another way to deliver nicotine to a younger and more vulnerable demographic in our society. The use of these products is not associated with greater rates of smoking cessation and they should be not be able to be marketed or sold attached with this claim. The evidence indicates that although some people use these products for this purpose, there is also a group of younger teens that use them as a nicotine delivery system.
Cassels, C., “e-Cigs’ Promise as Effective Quitting Tool Up in Smoke,”Medscape web site, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822468,last accessed March 25, 2014.
Adkison, S., e tal., “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems:International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey,”American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2013; 44(3): 207-215.