New study shows that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit, but only if they let go of tobacco in favor of vaping almost every day
Those who used to smoke are almost three times more likely to abstain from cigarette smoking if they puff on an e-cigarette 2 out of every 3 days a month, as analysts discovered.
“E-cigarettes are an effective way to get cigarette smokers to quit, but you really need to use those e-cigarettes,” said lead researcher David Levy. “Using them a couple days a month isn’t going to be anywhere near as effective as if you use them most, if not all, days in a month.”
With each additional day of e-cigarette use, the chances of a smoker quitting increase by 10%. However, pulmonologist Dr. Louis De Palo is not sure that e-cigarettes do too good of a job replacing traditional cigarettes.
“People don’t get addicted to the other forms of nicotine replacement because they aren’t fun,” said De Palo.
“Gum doesn’t taste very good. The nose inhaler burns a little bit. The patches are irritating. And none of them give you the psychological satisfaction of holding something in your hand and smoking,” he explained.
“E-cigarettes are highly addictive, easy to use, and fun,” De Palo continued. “This study doesn’t address the strategy for eventually weaning people off e-cigarettes.”
Data from more than 24,000 participants in the 2014/2015 Tobacco Use Supplement-Current Population Survey was reviewed for this study. Researchers used this specific time period because “that’s the year when e-cigarette use really took off,” Levy said.
They compared patterns of e-cigarette use with an ex-smoker’s ability to abstain from traditional cigarettes for at least three months.
“We used three months because people argue that’s more relevant, because you see a lot of relapse within the first three months,” Levy said.
Their conclusion was that the best way to quit smoking is to combine nicotine replacement with cognitive behavioural therapy or other type of therapy.