Evidence backing the notion that electronic cigarettes are effective for long-term smoking cessation is lacking, finds a new research conducted at the University of Toronto.
Lead author Riyad al-Lehebi said that there were several other smoking cessation aids available that had more robust evidence supporting their efficacy and safety, than e-cigarettes.
The meta-analysis included four studies of the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes for promoting smoking cessation in 1011 patients and an additional 18 studies of the safety of e-cigarettes reporting adverse effects that occurred in 1212 patients.
Adverse effects of e-cigarette use noted in the studies included dry cough, throat irritation, and shortness of breath. The incidence of serious adverse events did not differ between e-cigarettes and placebo e-cigarettes, but e-cigarette use was associated with a higher rate of adverse effects than the nicotine patch.
Though e-cigarettes have been widely promoted and used as a smoking cessation tool, they found no data supporting their long-term efficacy and safety, said al-Lehebi.
Given the potential health risks of using these unproven and unregulated devices, individuals seeking help with smoking cessation should consider other more well-established options until more research is performed, added the scientist.
The research was presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.