Cigarette smokers prefer e-cigarettes to the Food and Drug Administration’s approved quit methods, according to a research brief authored by RTI International, the University of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health.
Using a nationally representative online survey of 15,943 adult smokers who tried to quit during the past three months, they found that 75 percent used one or more methods to quit, and 25 percent used only one method, as shown below.
E-cigarettes were far more popular single quit aids for partial or complete substitution (2.2 percent), compared with nicotine patches/gum (0.8 percent) or other prescription medicines (0.4 percent). They were also more popular when more than one aid was used.
Of note, telephone quit lines were rarely used. The government has poured millions of dollars into this mini-industry, yet quit lines were used by a mere 0.02 percent (unweighted, n=3) of smokers as single quit aids in this study.
Participants here were current smokers. A similar analysis performed on former smokers will show even more impressive effects from vaping.
Despite the current study’s evidence of vaping’s popularity among smokers, the authors’ summation was understated:
Given that our data show that e-cigarettes are more commonly used for quit attempts than FDA-approved medications, further research is warranted on the safety and effectiveness of using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
The fact is that the CDC has documented with real-world data that e-cigarettes are preferred smoking-cessation aids, negating the argument that evidence is merely “anecdotal”
Our government should adopt the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Physicians position that “the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5 percent of the harm from smoking tobacco.” In Britain, e-cigs have been the leading quit-smoking aid since 2013 (see p. 46 here).
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