By Guy Bentley
Smokers who successfully quit using e-cigarettes are far less likely to relapse and pick up tobacco, according to a new study.
Published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the study examined vapers– smokers and those who do both for a period of two years and wanted to see how effective e-cigarettes were in keeping people off cigarettes.
“Of the e-cigarette users, 61.1 percent remained abstinent from tobacco (while 23.1 percent and 26.0 percent of tobacco-only smokers and dual users achieved tobacco abstinence),” the study said. “The rate (18.8 percent) of stopping use of either product (tobacco and/or e-cigarettes) was not higher for e-cigarette users compared with tobacco smokers or dual users.”
The study concludes that using e-cigarettes alone may prevent smokers from drifting back to cigarettes. Writing to The Daily Caller News Foundation via email, Dr. Michael Siegel at the Boston University School of Public Health explained the study’s implications.
“This study is useful for limited purposes,” said Siegel. “It does not provide information on the magnitude of the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation because it does not compare smokers who are randomized to receive e-cigarettes vs. smokers who are randomized to an alternative cessation approach (or to usual care).
“What it does demonstrate is that the rate of recidivism back to cigarette smoking is relatively low among vapers. In other words, if a person is successful in quitting smoking using e-cigarettes, there is a very good chance that he or she will be able to maintain their status as an ex-smoker. Moreover, the chances of a vaper being a smoker two years later are much lower than the chances of a smoker continuing to smoke two years later.”
The big public health takeaway for Siegel is that if a smoker successfully switches from smoking to vaping, there is a very strong chance they will remain an ex-smoker.