February 21, 2019

E-cigs "almost twice as effective as NRT" says new study

02 February 2019, 09:17 | Randall Craig

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People who used e-cigarettes to stop smoking had almost twice the one-year abstinence rate of those who used nicotine-replacement therapy, according to a study published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study team acknowledged, however, that prior research has demonstrated that when nicotine replacement products are paired with prescription medications - such as the nicotine receptor blocker Chantix (varenicline) and/or bupropion one year abstinence rates are the same or higher as the e-cig results.

It all contributes to a confusing picture of what is healthy and what isn't - and comes as advocates claim misinformation about vaping is widespread and harmful to public health.

This analysis led the National Academies of Sciences to conclude in a 2018 report that there is "substantial evidence" that e-cigarette use increases the risk for cigarette-smoking tobacco-naive youth. They don't involve burning tobacco, which causes much of the health damage from smoking cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor.

E-cigarettes are placed on a shelf for sale in a store in Prague, Czech Republic, January 31, 2019. Despite the absence of tobacco in e-cigarettes, there has been no research performed on long-term effects of vaping and its chemicals.

In the trial, just under 900 participants who were already using UK NHS stop-smoking services were randomly assigned to either a NRT product of their choice, including combination treatments, or an e-cigarette starter pack.

E-cigarettes could potentially be useful tools for adult smokers seeking to quit, but they are not without various health risks.

Professor Hywel Williams, Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme, said: "This groundbreaking NIHR-funded study provides clear evidence that e-cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy for helping smokers to quit".

Youth whose first use of a tobacco product was electronic cigarettes were more likely to initiate cigarette smoking over 2 years of follow-up in a newly reported study.

The latest study released this week from the Queen Mary University of London found 18 per cent of e-cigarette users were smoke-free after a year, compared to 9.9 per cent of people using nicotine-replacement products.

In addition, e-cigarette users experienced less severe urges to smoke, one and four weeks after quitting.

Legalise Vaping Australia campaign director Brian Marlow said more than 55 scientific studies showed vaping was less harmful than cigarettes and could help people quit smoking.

For now, Borelli added, "the best way to quit smoking right now is to use FDA-approved evidence-based treatment as a first-line choice".

The researchers said no serious adverse events were related to either NRT use or e-cigarette use. These devices now often have more nicotine and come in a more convenient form than the first-generation vaping devices.

Additional support was provided to study participants through anti-smoking counseling and recruitment from a government smoking-cessation program.

For one, the United Kingdom has already been pretty welcoming to the idea of e-cigarette use as a cessation tool.

Armitage, who has smoked for 15 years, said he also tried nicotine patches but found they irritated his skin.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about e-cigarettes and teenagers.

Earlier this month the head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, said he was so concerned about teenage use of the devices that he is considering the radical step of banning them completely. "One reason is that there are over 400 brands of e-cigarettes and they vary substantially".

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