E-cigarettes proving More Effective than Patches
Could the NHS start providing electronic cigarettes for people wanting to quit? What may have seemed far-fetched not so long ago will sound like a sensible option to many, following a recent study that shows e-cigarettes are more effective than patches or nicotine gum at helping smokers quit the habit.
The study, conducted by University College London (UCL) researchers, has made health experts start to think again about the efficacy of e-cigarettes in helping people to stop smoking. Around 6,000 recent ex-smokers were studied by the UCL team and while the NHS’s own cessation programme was the most effective, e-cigarettes were found to be better than patches or other nicotine replacement therapies at helping people to quit, including those who tried to give up the habit unsupported, by going ‘cold turkey’.
A Positive Endorsement for Vaping
It’s a ringing endorsement for e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but no tar, and have been shown to help people in their struggle to give up the habit for good. The study, published in full in Addictions journal, was led by Professor Robert West of the epidemiology and public health department at UCL and is based on a survey of nearly 6,000 people who gave up smoking between 2009 and 2014.
Results, adjusted for factors such as age, background and other variables, showed that people using e-cigarettes had about a 60% better chance of quitting than smokers trying other types of nicotine replacement. Professor West said the study was only one part of the jigsaw but if the use of e-cigarettes continued to grow, we could expect to see ‘a public health benefit.’
Pharmaceutical and Tobacco Companies Would Sooner E-Cigs "Went Away"
While this adds weight to the argument for making e-cigarettes available through the NHS, professor West added that companies such as GSK and Pfizer, which produce smoking cessation drugs, were opposed to e-cigarettes because they were losing sales ‘hand over fist’ and as a result, were ‘incentivised’ to make it appear that e-cigarettes were not effective at helping people to quit the habit. He said that another common misconception was that e-cigarettes were somehow good news for the tobacco industry, whereas the reality was that the tobacco industry would rather e-cigarettes went away. ‘They sell tobacco and would like to go on doing that.’
Although current EU regulations means the lengthy process of applying to have their product licensed as a medicine so it could be supported by the NHS, making it difficult for small or medium-sized e-cigarette manufacturers, professor West believes it would be ‘perfectly reasonable’ for people to consider using e-cigarettes with patients.
Have You Say:
Have you given up smoking tobacco with the aid of e-cigs? What other cessation methods have you tried? How do you feel about the Pharmaceutical and Tobacco industries trying to bury positive research about electronic cigarettes?