Study finds E-Cigarettes are the most successful quitting aid

A University College London study shows that e-cigarettes are the most successful over-the-counter quitting aid on the market.

The study led by Professor Robert West and funded primarily by Cancer Research UK concluded e-cigarettes are 60% more likely to help you quit smoking than other Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs).

In a recent blog post we spoke about how e-cigarettes were being used as quitting devices by 71% of ex-smokers surveyed in the UK. This UCL study is great news for ex-smokers and those trying to quit without seeking professional help.

E-cigarettes are a successful quitting aid

For the purposes of the study, 5,863 adults were surveyed over a 5 year period from July 2009 to February 2014.

Those surveyed had made at least one quit attempt in the previous 12 months using either an e-cigarette (only), Nicotine Replacement Therapiesbought over the counter (only) or no quitting aid (willpower only).

The report found that e-cigarette users were more likely to report abstinence from smoking than those that had used licences Nicotine Replacement Therapies or willpower.

E-cigarettes will not ‘renormalise’ smoking

Despite evidence that e-cigarettes act as smoking cessation aids, they are banned in HSE facilities and on public transport in Ireland.

The Welsh Assembly is also strongly considering banning e-cigarettes from public areas. The main reason behind the ban is that e-cigarettes may ‘renormalise’ smoking.

Professor West opposes the views of these public health experts:

“Some public health experts have expressed concern that widespread use of e-cigarettes could ‘re-normalise’ smoking. However, we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it.”

According to research by Professor West, the news for smoking rates in England is good:

“Smoking rates in England are declining, quitting rates are increasing and regular e-cigarette use among never- smokers is negligible.”

E-cigarette use is rising as smoking declines

According to the Irish Times, over 2 million people in the UK have used e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. In Ireland the last estimated figure for e-cigarette use is 50,000 and growing rapidly.

On the other hand, the prevalence of smoking in the UK is the lowest it has been for 80 years.

The prevalence of smoking in Ireland has also decreased significantly. From 2007 to 2013, a decline of 7.5% was recorded in Irish tobacco smokers.

The decline in tobacco smoking in Ireland is something Dr. James Reilly, Minister for Health, is passionate about:

“Tobacco consumption is the largest avoidable health threat in Ireland; 1 in 2 smokers will die from a tobacco related disease. My priority is to reduce the consumption of tobacco across the board, to meet our policy target of making Ireland tobacco-free (i.e. with a smoking prevalence rate of less than 5%) by 2025.”

If 50,000 tobacco smokers have already made the switch to e-cigarettes or are using e-cigarettes as quitting devices, isn’t that moving towards meeting the goals of the Department of Health?

Again, we believe that it doesn’t make sense to ban e-cigarettes without proper testing.

Don’t go it alone

However, Professor West also points out the best method to quit smoking is to do it with professional help services as these have the highest chance of success over any product:

“These almost triple a smoker’s odds of successfully quitting compared with going it alone or relying on over-the-counter products,”

We recommend that if you are quitting smoking, seek professional help. But if you’re thinking about going it alone, e-cigarettes may be an option for you.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your views on e-cigarettes, as well as other nicotine replacement therapies.

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