Studies continue to indicate that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking conventional cigarettes, making them a viable strategy to kick the habit. If you’re not familiar, e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that allow a user to inhale nicotine without the harmful byproducts of tobacco like carbon monoxide and tar. The latest study, published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet, supports the e-cigarette industry’s claim for safety and efficacy. In their first trial comparing e-cigarettes and nicotine patches researchers concluded that after a 13-week cessation program, similar numbers of e-cigarette users as nicotine patch wearers remained smoke-free after six months. The Food and Drug Administration is currently evaluating the safety of e-cigarettes, which is an important step in regulating the ever growing vaping industry.
The University of Auckland researchers who authored the Lancet study recruited over six hundred smokers who wanted to stop smoking. One of these groups (and probably the most irritable throughout the program) were given placebo e-cigarettes with no nicotine. Another group received a supply of regular e-cigarettes, while a third group received 13 weeks worth of nicotine patches. By the end of the trial, 7.8% of the e-cigarette smokers had had stopped smoking, while 5.8% of the patch users were able to kick the habit. The difference wasn’t determined to be statistically significant, indicating that e-cigarettes and nicotine patches have essentially the same effect.
Previous studies have shown similar data regarding e-cigarettes and their ability to stop smoking. A study published in PLOS ONE indicated that those using e-cigarettes were more likely to quit, even if they didn’t plan to. The FDA will likely consider these studies, among the many others that are sure to emerge, when deciding what to do about regulating e-cigarettes. At the moment, the FDA does not regulate the product, but it certainly intends to do so and determine how helpful, if at all, the devices can be in helping people to stop smoking.
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