A study from the journal Lancet has noted electronic cigarettes are nearly as effective as nicotine patches in regards to helping people quit smoking cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, were modestly effective at helping smokers to quit, with similar achievement of abstinence as with nicotine patches, and few adverse events,” the study found.
The study did go out of its way to note that, despite the inferred findings, “uncertainty exists about the place of e-cigarettes in tobacco control, and more research is urgently needed to clearly establish their overall benefits and harms at both individual and population levels.”
The study was conducted in New Zealand between 2011 and 2013, and carried out by researchers from the University of Auckland health agencies in New Zealand and the Queen Mary University of London.
Researchers conducted the work through randomly assigning 657 individuals with either nicotine e-cigs or nicotine patches, with a smaller group taking non-nicotine placebo.
The researchers then noted the individuals who abstained from smoking six months after the initiation of the test. Just over 7% of individuals with the e-cigarettes had quit smoking altogether. Just under 6% of individuals with the nicotine patches had done the same. Four percent of the placebo e-cigarette individuals quit smoking.
The study noted “no evidence of an association between adverse events and study product” with 137 adverse events in the nicotine e-cigarettes group, 119 events in the patches group and 36 events in the placebo e-cigarettes group.
This “suggests such short-term e-cigarette use is of low risk. However, longer-term use requires more research,” the authors said.
Vice President of health education for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, Jennifer Miller, stated she is glad the study is being done to help answer the many questions surrounding e-cigs and their use. She added that she hopes Health Canada will step up and handle some of its own studies.
“I want Health Canada to study what we are allowing in Canada. There are many different manufacturers, it’s not being regulated at all … people out of their basement can be mixing the ingredients and selling it online,” she said.
“If we’re going to critically look at this product and see if it’s a good public health fit to help people quit … then we need to study them properly. We need to regulate them properly.”
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