Medicine

Cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit When Accompanied By Behavioral Support

Cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit When Accompanied By Behavioral Support

One editorial, by Boston University researchers, said e-cigarettes should be used only when Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments don't work.

'Evidence of effectiveness must be balanced against the short-term and long-term safety of e-cigarettes.

A major trial involving nearly 900 smokers found that 18 per cent of e-cigarette users had abandoned their habit after a year.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor.

Plus, e-cigarettes come with unknown health effects. Nine percent of the participants in the other group were still using gums and other nicotine-replacement products. It also was unable to examine how the association of e-cigarette use with cigarette initiation may vary by different products or use behavior patterns. That was a reversal of a hands-off approach to e-cigarettes Gottlieb took in 2017 that was followed by a 75 percent rise between 2017 and 2018 in use of e-cigarettes by children and teens.

These low-risk teens don't drink or do drugs, show little affinity for frightening or exciting things, don't have much interest in trends, aren't curious about smoking and would turn down a cigarette if offered one by a friend, said senior researcher Andrew Stokes.

E-cigarettes are placed on a shelf for sale in a store in Prague, Czech Republic, January 31, 2019.

"Yet, instead of an official statement or press release about this new United Kingdom study (none appear on the FDA website) or any statement about how adult smokers need to switch to safer e-cigarettes, Gottlieb offered a milquetoast tweet (emphasis mine) saying the FDA is "...committed to the promise that e-cigs can help now addicted adult smokers quit; and improve their health by doing so..." adding that the agency's "urgent concerns are kids use of these products, and how to arrest it without substantially impeding adults".

The research of 900 smokers, led by experts at Queen Mary University of London, found 18 per cent of people stopped smoking a year after taking up e-cigarettes.

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"It's a concern. But the people who switch, they're still likely to have lower health risks", said Levy.

"These findings strengthen the rationale for aggressive regulation of youth access to and marketing of e-cigarettes to achieve future decreases in the prevalence of cigarette use among youths", they said.

But in an email exchange with MedPage Today, Berry explained that numerous prior studies may have been subject to methodological limitations because they started with a sample of youth who were never cigarette users, assessed their e-cigarette use at that early time point, and then reviewed their smoking status after a year of follow-up.

According to Martin Dockrell, tobacco control lead at Public Health England, "this landmark research shows that switching to an e-cigarette can be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, especially when combined with face-to-face support".

"There is substantial evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they are not harmful".

None of the kids had tried any tobacco product when they were first surveyed in 2013-2014, but the adolescents did answer a battery of questions created to see how likely they were to try smoking in the future. Those devices have largely been overtaken in the U.S.by Juul and similar devices that have prefilled nicotine cartridges, or pods.

"It is a fundamental mistake to think that all e-cigarettes are alike, " Myers said.

Myers' group is one of several anti-smoking organizations suing the FDA to immediately begin reviewing e-cigarettes.

Armitage, who has smoked for 15 years, said he also tried nicotine patches but found they irritated his skin.


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