Consistent Use of E-Cigarettes Can Help Smoking Cessation

According to a study published in The BMJ, while e-cigarettes can assist smokers to quit, the number of days of e-cigarette use will determine quit attempt and quit success.

While e-cigarettes can assist smokers to quit, the number of days of e-cigarette use will determine quit attempt and quit success, according to a study published in The BMJ.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who conducted the study analyzed data from the US Current Population Survey-Tobacco Use Supplement (2001-2002, 2003, 2006-2007, 2010-2011, and 2014-2015), but e-cigarette use was obtained only from the total sample (n = 161,054) from the 2014-2015 survey. Smoking cessation rates were obtained from those who quit smoking cigarettes 12 months prior to the survey (n = 23,270) and compared with the quit rates from the 2010-2011 survey and 3 others.

The primary outcome measures were the rate of attempt to quit cigarette smoking and the rate of successful quitting (meaning having abstained from cigarette smoking for 3 months).

Of the 2014-2015 sample, 22,548 were current smokers and 2136 were recent quitters—38.2% of current smokers and 49.3% of recent quitters had tried e-cigarettes. Of this subpopulation, 11.5% and 19%, respectively, currently use e-cigarettes and were the more likely population to quit smoking: 65.1% vs 40.1%. they also stood a much greater chance of quit success (8.2% vs 4.8%).

The authors write that while only 1.4% of smokers were current users of e-cigarettes in 2010, the number rose to between 15% and 30% by 2014; this meant that comparing the quit rates for those 2 periods would provide the most accurate impact of e-cigarette use on quitting.

E-cigarettes appear to have helped to increase smoking cessation at the population level, the authors conclude based on their study results.