Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

ABC News

People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn’t, a new study found.

Nicotine patches, gums and medications are known to aid smoking cessation, but there’s no consensus on whether vaping devices can help anti-smoking efforts. The U.S. research is the largest look yet at electronic cigarette users and it found e-cigarettes played a role in helping people quit.  

“It’s absolutely clear that e-cigarettes help smokers replace cigarettes,” said Peter Hajek, director of the health and lifestyle research unit at Queen Mary University in London, who wasn’t part of the study.

Smoking rates have been generally declining for decades. Health experts have credited taxes on tobacco products and anti-smoking ads for the drop.

E-cigarettes have been sold in the U.S. since 2007. Most devices heat a liquid nicotine solution into vapor and were promoted to smokers as a less dangerous alternative since they don’t contain all the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

Researchers analyzed and compared data collected by the U.S. Census from 2001 to 2015, including the number of adult e-cigarette users from the most recent survey.

About two-thirds of e-cigarette users tried to quit smoking compared to 40 percent of non-users, the study found. E-cigarette users were more likely to succeed in quitting for at least three months than non-users — 8 percent versus 5 percent.

The research was published online Wednesday in the journal, BMJ. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The rate of people quitting smoking in the U.S. has remained steady at about 4.5 percent for years. It jumped to 5.6 percent in 2014-2015, representing about 350,000 fewer smokers. It was the first recorded rise in the smoking cessation rate in 15 years.

While national anti-smoking campaigns likely helped, the results show e-cigarette use also played an important role, said lead author Shu-Hong Zhu of the University of California, San Diego.

Hajek, who wasn’t part of the research, said vaping devices shouldn’t be strictly regulated, but instead be allowed to compete directly with cigarettes. “That way, smokers can get what they want without killing themselves,” he said.

Earlier this month, a House panel renewed its efforts to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market.

Others warned that the long-term side effects of e-cigarettes are unknown.

“We just don’t know if moving to e-cigarettes is good enough to reduce the harm,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the American Heart Association’s Tobacco Research and Addiction Center.

Chris Bullen, who authored an accompanying editorial , said although the long-term safety of e-cigarettes is unclear, any ill effects are “likely to be rare compared with the harms of continuing to smoke.”

The latest results strongly suggest that more lenient control of e-cigarettes could improve population health, said Bullen, a professor of public health at the University of Auckland.

“If every smoker was to change over to e-cigarettes completely, there would be a dramatic and almost immediate public health benefit,” he said in an email.


AP Health Writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.

9 thoughts on “Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

  1. The main ingredients in E liquid are Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol and Nicotine, all of which are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) and have been used in inhalation devices for decades. I can’t say what the long term effects from various artificial flavors might be, but one can just use menthol (mint oil) as a flavor which has also been used in inhalation devices for decades.

    1. I’ll pass on the glycol
      There is such a thing as glycolysis
      But not a Dr or a “practicing” hack
      So I really don’t know much about it

      But like my Dr said
      Would you feed this shit to your baby?
      Which got a resounding F NO!
      From me
      Been 12 years since I quit cold turkey

      Not going to get sucked into this

      Malignant Tumor cells perform glycolysis at a rate that is ten times faster than their noncancerous tissue counterparts

      1. Congrats on quitting, PG is not needed, VG alone will create vapor and a small amount of distilled water can be used to thin the mix.

  2. ‘The rate of people quitting smoking in the U.S. has remained steady at about 4.5 percent for years. It jumped to 5.6 percent in 2014-2015, representing about 350,000 fewer smokers. It was the first recorded rise in the smoking cessation rate in 15 years.’…….AND THAT IS WHY THE BIG TOBACCO BOYS HAVE THEIR LOBBYISTS WORKING OVERTIME!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Exactly, if anyone needs advice on equipment and or making juice feel free to contact me.
      The equipment on the market today works much better then what was available three years ago, so if you tried vaping before and had issues consider giving it another go.

    1. Hey KOYOTE. I have smoked cigs since I was 13. Still do. I stuff cigarette tubes with my baccy (tobacco) of choice. My cost is 9.00 a carton verses 50.00 and up a carton for good quality baccy (tobacco). My dad smoked and he died at 95. My aunt smoked and she died at 95. So I don’t plan on giving up one of the few vices I have. White coats (alopathic “doctors”) keep saying it is harmful, which causes me to think it’s just the opposite. I have researched this topic down through the years, and haven’t come up with any consistent documented proof that it causes lung cancer.

      Carry on brother.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.