Large Study by the American Cancer Center Confirms E-cigarettes Can Help Quit Smoking

A new study by a team of researchers at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center investigated the behaviors of adult smokers related to e-cigarettes, such as vaping, use, and quitting.

The study, titled "The Effect of Unguided E-cigarette Provision on Receipt, Use, and Quitting Among Adult Smokers in the United States: A Natural, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial," included a clinical trial of adult smokers recruited from 11 cities in the United States. The 638 participants had varying intentions to quit or continue smoking, but all had no prior history of e-cigarette use.

The participants were divided into two groups, with half receiving flavored e-cigarettes and the other half not. The instructions given to the e-cigarette group were very limited, as the researchers' goal was to observe the natural uptake and use of e-cigarettes and its impact on quitting.

In the e-cigarette group, about 70% of participants started using the assigned e-cigarettes. Almost all behavioral outcomes favored this group, including quit attempts and sustained quitting. It was concluded that unguided vaping may lead to quitting. Therefore, the researchers reported that e-cigarettes should be considered a feasible alternative for smokers who are unable to quit using traditional methods.

"It's rare that almost all predictions turn out to be correct," said Matthew Carpenter, PhD, co-director of the Hollings Cancer Control Research Program and the study's lead author. "Here, it's one impact after another: no matter how we look at it, those who received e-cigarette products showed greater quit rates and less harm compared to those who did not receive e-cigarette products."

More patients ask their primary care physicians about e-cigarettes

Fortunately, according to a study published in the JAMA Network Open, more and more American smokers are asking their primary care physicians about e-cigarette products, leading to more physicians recommending these products. The study, titled "Communication About E-cigarette Use Between US Physicians and Patients," found that while most physicians still have misconceptions about the relative benefits of e-cigarette products, many physicians are prescribing them under the encouragement and pressure of patients.

The study surveyed over 2,000 physicians between 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, 60% of them mistakenly believed that e-cigarette products are as harmful as combustible tobacco products. However, physicians who believe in the harm reduction concept, have experienced the struggle to quit smoking themselves, or have been asked about e-cigarettes by patients are more likely to recommend these products.

Quitting smoking through e-cigarettes

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, it is believed that one in five smokers has quit smoking through e-cigarettes. More specifically, there are currently 4.3 million e-cigarette users in the UK, equivalent to 8.3% of adults in England, Wales, and Scotland. This was revealed by a report from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which described the increase in e-cigarettes as "a revolution."

The number of e-cigarette users has increased from 1.7% (about 800,000 people) 10 years ago. The report also highlighted that around 2.4 million British e-cigarette users were former smokers, while 1.5 million were still smoking and 350,000 had never smoked.

Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of e-cigarette products as a smoking cessation tool, with many participants reporting that e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking. Most e-cigarette users reported using refillable tank systems.

Concerns about disposables

The report also highlighted the sudden increase in disposable e-cigarette use, which has jumped from 2.3% last year to 15%. Similarly, the annual ASH Youth Survey, conducted by YouGov in March and published on July 7, recently showed an increase in the number of people using e-cigarettes. teenagers vaping and experimenting with disposable e-cigarettes.

The survey found that the current rate of e-cigarette use among children aged 11-17 in the UK is expected to rise from 4% in 2020 to 7% in 2022. Although the report found that the proportion of teenagers who have tried e-cigarettes has increased from 14% in 2020 to 16% in 2022. Disposable e-cigarettes are the most commonly used device type, with a worrying increase from 7% in 2020 to 8% in 2021, and reaching 52% in 2022.

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