The Lancet suggests that e-cigarettes are just as effective as nicotine patches in helping people kick the habit. ">
|Gabor Kovacs of puffs on an e-cigarette that his shop sells at Camden in London in this June 9, 2013 file photo. (REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files) |
A new study published September 9 in The Lancet suggests that e-cigarettes are just as effective as nicotine patches in helping people kick the habit.
University of Auckland researchers also said that e-cigarettes may even be a more useful quitting tool, since smokers generally prefer them over patches.
"While our results don't show any clear-cut differences between e-cigarettes and patches in terms of quit success after six months, it certainly seems that e-cigarettes were more effective in helping smokers who didn't quit to cut down," said head researcher Chris Bullen.
In the study, roughly similar proportions of smokers using either method remained abstinent from smoking for six months after a 12-week course of patches or e-cigarettes. Bullen and his team recruited 657 smokers to the trial through advertisements in local newspapers.
Study participants were all people who wanted to quit smoking and were divided into three groups: just under 300 subjects received a three-month supply of commercially available e-cigarettes, each of which contained around 16mg nicotine. The same number received a three-month supply of nicotine patches, while 73 subjects received placebo e-cigarettes that contained no nicotine.
At the end of the six-month study period, around one in 20 study participants had managed to remain completely abstinent from smoking. While the proportion of participants who successfully quit was highest in the e-cigarettes group (7.3 percent, compared to 5.8 percent for those in the nicotine patches group, and 4.1 percent in the placebo e-cigarettes group), these differences were not statistically significant, suggesting that e-cigarettes are about as effective as nicotine patches in helping people quit for at least six months, the researchers said.
Among those who had not managed to quit after six months, cigarette consumption was markedly reduced in the e-cigarettes group, compared to the patches and placebo groups; well over half (57 percent) of the participants in the e-cigarettes group had reduced their daily consumption of cigarettes by at least half after six months, compared to just over two-fifths (41 percent) of the patches group.
Findings will be presented at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
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