The first study to pit electronic cigarettes against conventional nicotine patches has revealed some interesting data to say the least. For those with a genuine desire to cut down or quite altogether, the high-tech modern approach to cessation seems to have the edge on the patches US smokers have counted on for so long.
Electronic cigarettes have quickly grown from relative obscurity into a multi-billion dollar global industry, though it appears the convenience of the things represents just the tip of the iceberg.
More than a quitting aid, electronic cigarettes are marketed largely as cigarette substitutes to get around bans on tobacco use in public places. They offer the smoker the hit of nicotine needed to ward off cravings, but without producing the potentially deadly smoke shared between the smoker and anyone that happens to be in the vicinity. The smoke is recreated visually, though has little to no odor, disappears in seconds and is harmless to those around.
The removal of the conventional burning of tobacco from the equation immediately brings an array of distinct health benefits for smokers, but at the same time these e-cigarettes are proving of huge benefit for those looking to cut down or quit.
Over the course of six months, a team of researchers looked into the smoking habits of a group of smokers – half of which were issued with nicotine patches and the other half e-cigarettes. At the end of the study, it came to light that while those using the patches had on average cut down the number of cigarettes they smoked by nearly 40%, electronic cigarettes had motivated a drop in tobacco use of over 50%.
Both groups hit an average of one in every 20 smokers quitting altogether, but those issued with the e-cigarettes were said to be considerably more enthusiastic about quitting and dedicated to doing so after the trial. Smokers of e-cigarettes were also the more likely parties to encourage their peers to use the same smoking cessation methods.
“Given the increasing popularity of these devices in many countries, and the accompanying regulatory uncertainty and inconsistency, larger, longer-term trials are urgently needed to establish whether these devices might be able to fulfil their potential as effective and popular smoking cessation aids,” the study’s researches summarized.