Recent research from the UK looked at e-cigarette use among smokers. It revealed that people who frequently use e-cigarettes make more effort to quit smoking. This is in comparison to those who use them periodically. People who use models with refillable tanks are even more likely to give up tobacco than everyone else.
Scientists from King’s College London released two research papers. They examined the usage of electronic cigarettes, which contained these findings. The studies suggested that using an e-cig daily increased the likelihood of quitting. This was when compared to people who used them infrequently. There was also a link between using tank-style e-cigarettes and giving up smoking tobacco. Tank models can deliver a higher dose of nicotine.
This research isn’t definitive proof that e-cigarettes lead to people quitting smoking. But it does suggest that they help. Scientific evidence is sorely needed in this area. The popularity of e-cigs has risen quickly, with two million people using them in the UK alone. But due to their fast uptake, research has struggled to keep up and assess their efficacy. The two studies come from KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. They are a step in the right direction.
Both of the studies used a survey from 2012 of over 4,000 smokers in the UK. They also used data from a follow-up of about 1,600 participants. The first study was published in the journal Addiction. It looked at the likelihood of smokers quitting when they used e-cigarettes of any kind. It found that six in ten people who used e-cigarettes daily tried to give up within a year. Meanwhile, just over four in ten non-users tried to do the same. It also discovered that over 14% of people who used an e-cigarette every day reduced their cigarette consumption by more than half in one year. Only 6% of participants who didn’t use e-cigs did the same.
The study didn’t look at e-cigarettes as quitting aids since it included those who used them to cut down on tobacco too. But lead author Dr Leone Brose said that the results are encouraging. They show that e-cig use led to reduced tobacco use and increased attempts to quit.
The second study was published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Using data from 587 e-cig users, it looked at the differences between different types of e-cigarette. There are two main types. Firstly, e-cigs look like regular cigarettes, which are disposable or use cartridges. These are often called “cigalikes”. There are also tank models, which are a more permanent piece of equipment that uses tanks of e-liquid. The former type saw more use among the study group, with over 75% using them. Although the numbers for tank-style users were smaller, 28% of them had given up smoking tobacco after one year. On the other hand, only 13% of people who didn’t use e-cigs did the same. The numbers for those using cigalikes or only occasionally using tank models were similar, at 11%.
Dr Sara Hitchman, the lead researcher, pointed out that they don’t yet know the reason behind the differences. “Research suggests that tanks might deliver nicotine more effectively and perhaps be more satisfying to users,” she said. “But there may also be other factors, including price and the ways that tanks allow the user to adapt the product, such as the nicotine content and the flavor of the liquid.”
The two studies emphasize the importance of differentiating between e-cigarette types and users. People use e-cigs for a number of reasons, whether to give up, cut down or just because they can’t smoke at certain times. And the two types of e-cigarette are used in different ways to help people achieve their goals. Someone who invests in a tank model e-cig may be already committed to the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to quit or cut back on tobacco. Whereas people using cigalikes might feel less seriously about using them to stop smoking.
If you’re hoping to quit smoking, e-cigarettes could help you out. While there needs to be more evidence about whether they will help you stop completely, they could assist in cutting back. Of course, every quitting aid is different for every person. Some methods may work for some but not for others. You might discover that e-cigarettes work for you, whether they’re cigalikes or tank models. There are also other methods available, from gum and patches to hypnotherapy. In time, more research could reveal more about the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for people who want to stop smoking.