Using e-cigarettes is three times more effective than nicotine gums in the battle to stop smoking and stay off tobacco for good, says a major new study, adding to a growing body of top-level research that says vaping is almost completely harmless compared to cigarettes and has become one of the leading smoking-cessation methods.
The study, carried out in England by researchers at University College London (UCL), the results of which were published in the journal Addiction, placed a focus on finding the success rates among smokers regarding the kinds of methods they were using to quit and stay off cigarettes for good. It was one of the largest such research endeavors on the subject, they said, and the results pointed overwhelmingly towards e-cigarettes.
If found that smokers who switched to e-cigarettes had around a 95% chance of success in getting off cigarettes and staying off them compared to smokers who used other cessations methods, such as nicotine patches, gums, and other stop-smoking aids. England is now home to around 3.2 million people who vape, according to research, a figure that keeps rising as the number of smokers in the country — 6.1 million — continues to fall.
Over a Decade of Stop-Smoking Data
The UCL research involved almost 19,000 smokers who had been trying to quit for over a year, and altogether used data from 2006 to 2018. It was funded by Cancer Research UK, the leading cancer charity in the country, which has carried out its own long-term research into vaping in recent years and found that e-cigarettes are far safer than tobacco cigarettes and that there was a “very low risk” associated with using vapes, such as the popular Phix brand, in the long-term.
Lead author for the UCL study Dr. Sarah Jackson said that because of the devastating health consequences of smoking — tobacco kills around 8 million people around the world each year — every effort must be made to encourage smokers to quit.
“Stopping smoking reduces the risk of chronic diseases and increases quality of life and life expectancy. It is therefore important that every quit attempt has the best possible chance of success,” she said. “Our study adds to growing evidence that use of e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit. It also raises concerns about the apparent lack of effectiveness of [nicotine replacement therapies such as gums] bought from a shop.”
UK Leading the Vaping Way
Britain is already at the forefront of efforts to help get people off cigarettes by vaping instead, as well as researching the effects of vaping compared to smoking to determine if there are any health risks associated with e-cig use. None, including in this latest study, have been found. Other countries, however, have banned vape gear and vape juice — notably nations in Southeast Asia and elsewhere — and various places in the United States have either introduced legislation to prohibit the use of e-juice flavors or are considering outright vaping bans. Meanwhile, people are allowed to put their health directly at risk by smoking.
Dr. Jamie Brown, of UCL’s Epidemiology and Healthcare department and who led the research, said that based on the study, vaping had the potential to not only help save lives but to benefit society in general.
“It is important that e-cigarettes appeared to be equally effective for smokers of all ages and social backgrounds,” he said. “Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to health inequality between rich and poor and the growth in e-cigarette use may ultimately start to reduce this gap.”