Daily e-cigarette use shows ‘clear benefit’ in helping smokers quit

On Tuesday 10th of March, No Smoking Day 2021, King’s College London, published a new study into e-cigarettes. It has identified the ‘clear benefit’ of daily e-cigarette use in helping smokers quit.

About the study
The study, published in the journal Addiction, involved the use of five waves of data collected between 2012 and 2017. Researchers analysed how effective e-cigarettes are at aiding abstinence from smoking for at least a month.

During the study, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, researchers analysed the online data of more than 1155 participants. These included smokers, ex-smokers who had quit within one year of the survey, and e-cigarette users.

They found that vapers who are using a refillable e-cigarette daily are over five times more likely to kick the habit after one month, compared to not using any quitting aids. Similarly, those who use a disposable or prefilled pod style e-cigarette are three times more likely to quit for a month compared to those who do not use an aid.

E-cigarettes have been available for over a decade, but evidence on their effectiveness for smoking abstinence is still limited. Unfortunately, many of the studies carried out so far have failed to include important factors like frequency of use and the type of e-cigarette. This has resulted in inconsistent findings.

There is a lot of first hand evidence that e-cigarettes are more effective than other NRTs and medications. This includes from users, who have previously struggled to quit using other methods, and stop smoking clinic workers who report e-cigarettes, in combination with support, as the most effective tool.

This study found that daily use of an e-cigarette was more effective than other methods, including NRTs and medications like Bupropion and Varenicline. This suggests that possibly it is time to consider moving away from other methods that are offered by the NHS, in favour of a more effective solution.

Dr Máirtín McDermott, Research Fellow at King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre, and lead author of the study, stated;

“Our results show that when used daily, e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking, compared to no help at all. These findings are in line with previous research, showing that e-cigarettes are a more effective aid for quitting than nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medication.”

More calls for the WHO to reconsider their stance
Dr Leonie Brose, Reader at King’s College London’s National Addiction Centre who also worked on the study, adds to the growing calls for the WHO to re-evaluate their current stance on e-cigarettes;

“Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cautious stance on e-cigarettes, studies like ours show they are still one of the most effective quitting aids available.

The WHO is especially concerned about refillable e-cigarettes, as these could allow the user to add harmful substances or higher levels of nicotine. However, we’ve shown that refillable types in particular are a very effective quitting aid when used daily, and this evidence should be factored into any future guidance around their use.”