Electronic cigarettes seem to be at least as successful as nicotine patches in assisting individuals to quit smoking, research suggests.
The products, that are fast growing in popularity, produce a vapour containing nicotine.
The findings, presented in the European Respiratory Society, revealed similar numbers stopping with e-cigarettes as patches, but more had decrease.
There clearly was a call, however, for long-term data on safety.
Also as giving a nicotine hit, the e-cigarettes also mimic the sensory sensations of smoke. This has led to speculation that they may be a helpful tool for people wanting to stop.
The first clinical trial was conducted by a team at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, comparing the devices with nicotine patches in 657 people.
The results published within the Lancet demonstrated 7.3% using e-cigarettes had quit after six months compared with 5.8% using patches. But, the study did not demand enough folks to definitively prove that is the better alternative.
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The key message is that in the specific context of minimal support, e-cigarettes are at least as successful as nicotine patches. ”
Prof Peter Hajek Queen Mary University of London
After six months, however, the 57% of e-cigarette users had halved the number of cigarettes smoked each day compared with 41% in those using patches.
Prof Chris Bullen, in the University of Auckland, said: “While our results do not reveal any clearcut distinctions between e-cigarettes and patches concerning ‘quit success’ after 6 months, it surely appears that e-cigarettes were more effective in helping smokers who didn’t quit to reduce.
“It is also interesting the individuals who took part in our study seemed to be far more excited about e-cigarettes than patches.
“Given the growing prevalence of these devices in several nations, as well as the accompanying regulatory uncertainty and inconsistency, larger, longer-duration trials are urgently needed to determine whether these devices may manage to fulfil their potential as effective and well-known smoking-cessation aids.”
Laws all over the world are catching up with the upsurge within the appeal of e-cigarettes. The United Kingdom and also the European Union are both working towards regulating e-cigarettes in exactly the same way as medicines.
Opinion is also divided by the products with some arguing they normalise smoking and others saying they might help folks to quit.
Prof Peter Hajek, the director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, explained the analysis as “pioneering”.
“The key message is the fact that in the specific context of minimum support, e-cigarettes are at least as successful as nicotine patches.
“E-cigarettes are also more captivating than patches to many smokers, and can be accessed in most states without the restrictions around medications that affect nicotine replacement therapy or the costly involvement of health care professionals.
“These advantages imply that e-cigarettes have the possibility to raise rates of smoking cessation and reduce prices to quitters and to health services.”
But he did demand longer-term studies into the consequences of using the products.
You may hear more from Prof Chris Bullen on Discovery to the BBC World Service.E-cigarettes ‘as effective’ as nicotine patches