As debate over the harms and benefits of electronic cigarettes rage across the country, research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine finds no evidence of an association between e-cigarette use and reduced cigarette consumption. Although marketed as smoking cessation aids, e-cigarettes do not help smokers quit.
States Dr. Maciej L. Goniewicz of the Roswell Cancer Park Institute in Buffalo, New York in a spotlight feature on Medical News Today summarizing the controversies surrounding e-cigarettes:
“Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed slight decrease in smoking prevalence among US adults between 2008 and 2011. We do not know whether it can be attributed to increasing popularity of e-cigarettes. We need to closely monitor this trend over the next few years to understand effects of e-cigarettes on population level.”
Health care professionals generally agree that not enough evidence exists to determine whether e-cigarettes help smokers quit effectively.
Another recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggested that e-cigarettes may contribute to nicotine addiction, particularly among American adolescents.
For the present study, the researchers surveyed 949 current smokers, asking about smoking habits, plans to quit, and e-cigarette use. Of the total participants, 88 reported using e-cigarettes in addition to regular cigarettes.
According to the survey, significantly more women, younger adults, and individuals with lower levels of education used e-cigarettes. Additionally, smokers who used e-cigarettes were not more likely to want to quit smoking than non-users.
Comments lead researchers Rachel Grana, “We did not find a relationship between using an e-cigarette and reducing cigarette consumption.”
In other words, researchers did not find a significant association between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation. In fact, although 13.5 percent of the participants in the study did quit smoking, very few of the successful quitters used e-cigarettes.
Conclude the researchers of the present study, “Regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”
Adds Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, in a linked comment:
“Although there are no data showing that e-cigarette use helps with cessation, there is potential harm. In particular, e-cigarettes are currently unregulated. Therefore, the tough restrictions on the sale of tobacco to minors do not exist for e-cigarettes. Also, the limitations on where people can smoke do not currently apply to e-cigarettes, with the result that the progress on changing social norms through smoking bans may be threatened. Finally, we simply do not know what potential harm e-cigarettes may cause to their users.”
Two other recent studies found evidence that e-cigarettes release “thirdhand smoke,” leaving varying but significant levels of nicotine residue on indoor surfaces.
E-cigarettes may not help smokers quit, says study: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/03/25/e-cigarettes-may-not-help-smokers-quit-says-study/
E-cigarettes ‘should not be marketed as smoking cessation aids’: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/274478.php
E-cigarette and E-liquids: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:510N_e-cigarette_and_e-liquids.jpg