In a groundbreaking study by Cochrane published in October 2020, vaping was found to be the most effective method for cigarette smokers to quit the habit.
Cochrane, a British international charitable organization comprising of health professionals, researchers, and scientists from over 130 countries that has a specialization in organizing medical research findings in order to facilitate evidence-based policymaking on health interventions, evaluated 50 studies globally to conclude that e-cigarette use or vaping, is far more effective than any other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) method.
The original study analyzed randomized controlled trials (RCT) that provided the most reliable evidence of treatment, and it was found that more people managed to stop smoking for at least 6 months using nicotine e-cigarettes as compared to other nicotine replacement therapies.
It was found that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes also help more people to stop smoking than when no support or only behavioral support was received.
“The randomized evidence on smoking cessation is unchanged since the last version of the Review was initiated. We are encouraged to find many studies are now underway, particularly as electronic cigarettes are an evolving technology. Since the last version of the Review, 11 new observational and uncontrolled studies have been published. In terms of quitting, these can’t provide the same information we get from randomized controlled trials, but they contribute further information on the side effects of using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking. None detected any serious side effects, but longer-term data are needed,” said Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, the lead author of the Cochrane Review from the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group.
Traditional NRT methods include nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges which were for a long time, believed to be the most effective means for heavy smokers to quit. E-cigarettes have subsequently emerged as an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Though e-cigarettes have been around for quite some time, their popularity has increased significantly in recent years as they were able to provide a similar sensory experience such as the hand-held motion and the production of a vapor.
In addition to introducing hardware innovations geared towards improved safety and comfortable use, the e-cigarette industry has been making steady strides in ensuring that the products are not marketed nor sold to minors or non-smokers, thereby making sure that the products stay true to their intended purpose.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report released early this year, tobacco continues to kill more than half of its users globally with a death toll of over 8 million people a year, while around 1.2 million are indirectly affected from the exposure to second-hand smoke. The number steadily increases each year with 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users coming from low and middle-income countries.
Smoking remains a significant global health concern and though many smokers have tried to stop, they often find it difficult to successfully quit the nasty habit permanently. Many countries around the world such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand have acknowledged the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a tool for smokers to quit the habit, having enacted vaping specific legislation to professionalize the industry and ensure smokers have proper access to these products.
As the amount of scientific evidence of e-cigarettes’ effectiveness in helping smokers transition permanently away from cigarette smoking continue to grow, public health authorities around the world are starting to realize the vast potential it has on improving public health outcomes in the decades ahead.