A newly published review by the Cochrane Library provides further evidence that e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in helping smokers quit. Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.
Despite this, many elected officials have moved to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes (e‐cigarettes, e-cigs, ECs) in localities and states. Often claiming “what about the children?” or that e-cigarettes are “un-necessary” because FDA-approved quitting tools already exist. These same claims echoing those ringing in every cannabis advocate’s ears. So it is high time for a sesh about it. Or better yet, ask some folks who have used vaping ECs to quit smoking!
First off, What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e‐cigarettes, e-cigs, ECs) are handheld devices that work by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine and flavorings. Instead of tobacco smoke with loads of carcinogens, E‐cigarettes allow you to inhale in a vapor form. Because they do not burn tobacco, ECs do not expose users to the same levels of toxins that are known to cause smoking‐related diseases in people who use conventional cigarettes. And thus many people use e‐cigarettes to help them to stop smoking tobacco.
E-cigarettes have helped numerous American adults quit smoking and are, indeed, more effective than FDA-approved NRT in helping smokers quit. When the review team at Cochrane searched for studies, they looked for randomized controlled trials, in which the type of treatment people (subjects) received was decided at random. This type of study usually gives the most reliable evidence about the effects of a specific treatment. They also looked for studies in which everyone received an e‐cigarette treatment to help people stop smoking.
Cochrane Researchers Wanted to Find Out:
· How many people stopped smoking for at least six months; and
· How many people had any unwanted effects
So, they can help people stop smoking, but do they have any unwanted effects?
Stopping smoking lowers your risk of getting lung cancer and other diseases. But many people find excuses not to quit. The unwanted effects reported most often with nicotine e‐cigarettes in the review were throat or mouth irritation, headache, cough and feeling nausea. Interestingly enough, these effects reduced over time as people continued using nicotine e‐cigarettes. So if using e‐cigarettes can help people stop smoking lung darts, while reducing their risk of cancer, in exchange for some mild irritation that they most likely experienced to get-used-to smoking the cancer sticks in the first place! Then what’s a better reason?
What the Researchers Found
Fifty studies covering 12,430 adults who smoked compared e‑cigarettes with:
- nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or gum
- nicotine‐free e‐cigarettes
- behavioral support, such as advice or counseling
- no support, for stopping smoking
Some studies also tested using NRT and e‐cigarettes together. The studies took place in the USA (21 studies), the UK (9), Italy (7), Australia (2), New Zealand (2), Greece (2), and one study each in Belgium, Canada, Poland, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey.
More people probably stop smoking for at least six months using nicotine e‐cigarettes than using nicotine replacement therapy (3 studies; 1498 people), or nicotine‐free e‑cigarettes (3 studies; 802 people).
Nicotine e‐cigarettes may help more people to stop smoking than no support or behavioral support only (4 studies; 2312 people).
For every 100 people using nicotine e‐cigarettes to stop smoking, 10 might successfully stop, compared with only six of 100 people using nicotine‐replacement therapy or nicotine‐free e‐cigarettes, or four of 100 people having no support or behavioral support only.
Although it is uncertain if there is a difference between how many unwanted effects occur using nicotine e‐cigarettes compared with using nicotine‐free e‐cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy, no support or behavioral support only. Low numbers of unwanted effects, including serious unwanted effects, were reported for all groups.
As mentioned before, the unwanted effects reported most often with nicotine e‐cigarettes were throat or mouth irritation, headache, cough, and feeling sick. These effects reduced over time as people continued using nicotine e‐cigarettes.
Key Messages from the Review
Nicotine e‐cigarettes probably do help people to stop smoking for at least six months. They probably work better than any nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine‑free e‐cigarettes.
They may work better than no support, or behavioral support alone, and they may not be associated with serious unwanted effects.
You Can Stop Smoking with Vaping
Just take it from one of the countless posts on Reddit or testimonials on Vaping.org like JB in Maryland, here’s his story:
“Like so many smokers I LOVED SMOKING. I hated the expense and smell but loved a cig. My wake up call was when my mom who was dying of lung cancer told me to please stop smoking how ever I could, something she could not stop doing.
I tried the patch but still was pulling it off having a smoke here and there, it wasn’t working. I had heard how vaping was to new and they still don’t know how it will effect our body’s. Well “they” know exactly how smoking effects our body’s and it usually means major health problems to even death.
So how could vaping at this point be anymore risk to someone that has smoked for almost 30 years? I got my fist vape set up April 2017, it was great. I never puffed a cigarette after my first vape. I weened myself down lowering nicotine levels and now as of 2019 I’m smoke and vape free. Vaping is a life saver. I will never smoke again, if I ever ever ever feel like I’m falling off, I will vape again.
Please, if you want to quit smoking or if you want a loved one to quit, start now! Get your set up get a good juice, find a vape shop to help you, they are great at helping new vapers. This works!”
“Been smoking for 35 years, I am 50 now. Lately, I’ve been coughing and hacking so much… My daughter was learning about the dangers of cigarettes in school (Sixth Grade) and she asked me if I would please try to quit. I kept saying I will, soon. I will.
Well, I’ve been praying on not knowing how to quit smoking. I wanted to, but I enjoyed it and I was addicted. Recently, it just so happened that some other parents at soccer practice told me about Vaping (that they both used to smoke cigarettes) and offered me a vape puff. So I did.
I haven’t smoked cigarettes for 10 days. It’s really unbelievable. I am really happy and amazed. If I can do this, anyone can. Thank you, I believe Vaping and my Daughter saved my life.”