If you are thinking of quitting smoking, electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes, stand a better chance of helping you achieve your goal than nicotine replacement treatments, such as patches and gum, show results of a major clinical trial.
E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments at helping smokers to quit, according to a study.
The trial, which involved almost 900 smokers who also received additional behavioral support, found that 18 percent of e-cigarette users were smoke-free after a year, compared to 9.9 percent of participants who were using other nicotine replacement therapies.
"This is the first trial to test the efficacy of modern e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit. E-cigarettes were almost twice as effective as the 'gold standard' combination of nicotine replacement products," said lead researcher Peter Hajek, Professor at the Queen Mary University of London.
"Although a large number of smokers report that they have quit smoking successfully with the help of e-cigarettes, health professionals have been reluctant to recommend their use because of the lack of clear evidence from randomized controlled trials. This is now likely to change," Hajek added.
The new study, which was set-up to test the long-term efficacy of newer refillable e-cigarettes compared with a range of nicotine replacement treatments, was conducted among 886 smokers who attended UK National Health Service stop smoking services.
In addition to e-cigarettes being almost twice as effective, the researchers found that e-cigarette participants reported a greater decline in the incidence of a cough and phlegm production after 52 weeks.
But e-cigarette participants reported more throat/mouth irritation (65.4 percent vs. 50.8 percent) and nicotine replacement participants reported more nausea (37.8 percent vs. 31.4 percent), the results showed.
"This is the first study to show the effectiveness of e-cigarettes combined with behavioral support for giving up smoking, and the results are extremely positive," said Sophia Lowes of Britain-based charity Cancer Research UK.