I’ve made it very clear as I’ve followed and written about e-cigarettes, both here and elsewhere, that my personal experience trying to quit smoking has been quite positive through the use of “vaping” products. As a former smoker of well over a pack a day, I’ve been able to lower this to one or two depending on alcohol consumption through the use of these products. A considerably more scientific account was released today to show that I may not be “vaping” up the wrong tree.
Study to be published tomorrow
The study, which will be published tomorrow in the journal Addiction, strongly suggests that e-cigs can help the smoker who is genuinely interested in quitting. In fact, it goes so far as to say that you are 60% more likely to succeed than those who opt for patches or gum.
“It appears, at least for some people, e-cigarettes are a viable method of quitting that looks comparable to, if not better than, traditional nicotine replacement therapy,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, who had no part in the study.
Quitting smoking is a tough habit to kick, I’ve quit heroin (oh, it wasn’t that bad, I was already being prescribed morphine following an injury received in Kuwait in early 91′, and simply chose to move to Thailand for the good stuff) but I’ve struggled with quitting smoking for years.
Thankfully, for those that are offended by our smoke, e-cig use has risen dramatically in the States in recent years. In 2010, a mere 2% of smokers used them while 30% were using them in 2012 at some point.
I don’t doubt that their effectiveness is quite unique to individual smokers and there are studies that the researchers involve believe show that e-cigs don’t help smokers quit.
A contrary view and rebuttal
In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in March found that electronic cigarettes do not help people curb or quit smoking.
“When used by a broad sample of smokers under ‘real world’ conditions, e-cigarette use did not significantly increase the chances of successfully quitting cigarette smoking,” concluded that study’s lead researcher, Dr. Pamela Ling, an associate professor at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco.
I’m sorry Dr. Ling but I don’t remember participating in that study. Nor were my friends who have recently used e-cigarettes to quit or seriously cut down.
However, Siegel said the new study is different because the researchers didn’t just look at people who used e-cigarettes, but at those who used them specifically to quit.
“They actually identified smokers who were trying to quit using e-cigarettes, whereas in the other study they just interviewed smokers in general,” he said. “You really want to know when people are using them in an effort to quit and how successful they are.”
Despite recent regulations imposed on e-nicotine delivery vehicles by the FDA and other governmental bodies, they are surely less harmful than my Marlboro Reds. Siegel agrees,”If you are able to quit without e-cigarettes at all, that’s the ideal situation, but unfortunately what the data are showing is that people who are trying to quit without any aid may not be as successful,” he said.