E-cigarettes much better for quit smoking

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"This landmark research shows that switching to an e-cigarette can be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, especially when combined with face-to-face support", Martin Dockrell, head of the Tobacco Control division at Public Health England, said in a statement. E-cigarettes, however, "provided greater satisfaction and were rated as more helpful to refrain from smoking than nicotine-replacement products", the study's authors wrote.

Still, e-cigarettes don't come without health risks and experts warn against potential dangers like nicotine addiction, heart attack, and, depending on the vape flavour used, popcorn lung.

Stokes and his colleagues explored the influence of e-cigarettes through the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATH), a nationally-representative sample of kids aged 12 to 15 who completed annual questionnaires between 2013 and 2016.

A major trial involving nearly 900 smokers found that 18% of e-cigarette users had abandoned their habit after a year.

E-cigarettes are placed on a shelf for sale in a store in Prague, Czech Republic, January 31, 2019.

"Even the surgeon general has reported that e-cigarettes and vaping is now being considered an epidemic just because of the amount of teens that are starting to use these products".

"Smokers have a range of options available to help them quit, including nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication or e-cigarettes".

Just nine percent of those who had quit cigarettes for a year in the nicotine replacement group were still using patches, gum or other substitutes. Vapers were likely to become hooked on e-cigarettes, which are thought to be less harmful than tobacco but aren't without risks.

"This is the first trial to test the efficacy of modern e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit", said lead researcher Peter Hajek, a professor at Queen Mary University of London.

People assigned to e-cigarettes reported less severe urges to smoke in the first 4 weeks of the study.

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"This is great news for cigarette smokers who want to quit", said Richard Miech, from the University of MI in the United States who has studied e-cigarettes but was not involved in this trial.

In the British study group, a total of 79 smokers were enrolled in an "e-cig group" and given a refillable e-cigarette to use.

"Australia can catch up with Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom and legalise smoke-free alternatives to help smokers quit for good".

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".

Those given e-cigarettes were encouraged to buy future supplies of their own choice of strengths and flavours, and all participants received weekly one-on-one behavioural support for at least four weeks. "It does not support the unlimited availability of e-cigarettes".

But Jordt noted that newer devices like the Juul pod have only recently arrived in the UK.

Another concern Jordt has about e-cigarettes is that many users will simply never stop using them.

Despite the impressive findings, Levy and the other experts Gizmodo spoke to said more research is still needed in the US and elsewhere, using newer devices, before doctors here can wholeheartedly endorse vaping as a superior cessation aid over the standard treatment (likely with regular counseling to boot).

Myers' group is one of several anti-smoking organizations suing the FDA to immediately begin reviewing e-cigarettes.

The Harvard study published in Scientific Reports determined that two chemicals commonly used to flavor e-cigarettes may be harming the cilia, the antennae-like protrusions that line human airways to help keep them clean.