More evidence electronic cigarettes help smokers quit

More evidence electronic cigarettes help smokers quit

An international research review has concluded that there is more evidence smokers using electronic cigarettes can stop or reduce their smoking.

The first Cochrane Review on e-cigarettes for smoking cessation (published today in the Cochrane Library) draws on two randomised trials, one carried out at the National Institute for Health Innovation, The University of Auckland, and one from a research group in Sicily, Italy. They also drew on evidence from 11 observational studies.

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence based health care.

The Review found that while nicotine containing electronic cigarettes was more effective than electronic cigarettes without nicotine (placebo) in helping smokers kick the habit, the results need to be confirmed by more studies.

“Electronic cigarettes have been around in some form for a number of years, but recently their popularity has increased substantially,” says one of the authors, Associate Professor Chris Bullen, Director of the University of Auckland’s National Institute for Health Innovation. “They are available in New Zealand, but they are not currently recommended for use by our Ministry of Health.”

Unlike chewing gum and patches, e-cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking because they are hand-held and generate a smoke-like vapour when used. They provide smokers with a nicotine ‘hit’ and help to recreate similar sensations of smoking without exposing them or others to the smoke from conventional cigarettes. They are used by many smokers, but little has been known about how effective they are at helping people to stop, nor their long term effects.

The team of researchers from the United Kingdom and New Zealand found two randomised trials that had analysed data from 662 current smokers.