E-cigarettes certainly have their detractors, who argue that the vapor they produce poses a health risk (primarily because it contains the addictive agent nicotine). But a new report shows that e-cigarettes can actually save lives by helping people quit smoking altogether.
The report, which comes from the University of London’s epidemiology and public health department, says that smokers looking to quit the habit are twice as likely to be successful if they use e-cigarettes instead of nicotine patches or gum.
The report, which was sponsored by Cancer Research UK and has recently been published in the journal Addiction, is based on a five-year study (2009 to 2014) of just under 6,000 smokers .
The study showed that one in five people, or 20 per cent, were able to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes. In comparison, only 10 per cent of people who used over-the-counter helpers like nicotine gums were able to stop.
Interestingly, people who used willpower alone were more likely to quit (15 per cent) than those who used nicotine patches or gum.
University of London researcher Robert West suggests the study could have a profound impact on tobacco smoking, which kills an estimated six million people each year.
“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” West said.
“It’s not clear whether long-term use of e-cigarettes carries health risks, but from what is known about the contents of the vapour these will be much less than from smoking,” West added.