Monday October 21, 2019

UK Study: E-Cigarettes help Smokers Quit as Much as Stop-Smoking Aids

This study involved almost 19,000 people in England who had tried to quit smoking in the preceding 12 months, collected over a 12-year period from 2006 to 2018

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FILE - A sales associate demonstrates the use of an electronic cigarette and the smoke-like vapor that comes from it, in Aurora, Colorado, March 2, 2011. VOA

People using e-cigarettes to quit smoking are about 95% more likely to report success than those trying to quit without help from any stop-smoking aids according to the results of a large study in England.

The research, funded by the charity Cancer Research UK and published in the journal Addiction on Thursday, analyzed success rates of several common stop-smoking methods – including e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches and gum, and Pfizer’s varenicline, sold as Champix in the UK.

It also adjusted for a wide range of factors that might influence success rates for quitting – such as age, social level, degree of cigarette addiction, previous attempts to quit, and whether quitting was gradual or abrupt.

Latest World Health Organization data show that smoking and other tobacco use kills more than 7 million people a year globally. Of the 1.1 billion people worldwide who smoke, around 80 percent live in poor or middle-income countries.

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A woman smokes an electronic cigarette in London, Aug. 19, 2015. VOA

E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor. Many big tobacco companies, including British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco, sell e-cigarettes.

This study involved almost 19,000 people in England who had tried to quit smoking in the preceding 12 months, collected over a 12-year period from 2006 to 2018. Successful quitters were defined as those who said they were still not smoking.

As well as the 95% increased success rate for e-cigarettes, the study found that people prescribed Champix were around 82% more likely to have succeeded in stopping smoking than those who tried to quit without any aids.

“Our study adds to growing evidence that use of e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit,” said Sarah Jackson, a professor at University College London who co-led the study.

Using e-cigarettes, or ‘vaping,’ is considered by many experts to be an effective way for smokers to give up tobacco, but some in the scientific community are skeptical of their public health benefits, fearing they might normalize the idea of smoking and lead young people into the habit.

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E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor. Pixabay

Smokers who were prescribed NRT by a medical professional were 34% more likely to quit successfully, the study found. But those buying NRT from shops were no more likely to succeed that those trying to quit without any help at all.

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Experts said the results were robust and important. Peter Hajek, director of the tobacco dependence research unit at Britain’s Queen Mary University of London, said the study yielded two key findings about e-cigarettes:

“They help smokers quit at least as much as stop-smoking medications, and they are used by many more smokers. This means they generate many more quitters and do this at no cost to the NHS (National Health Service),” he said in an emailed comment. (VOA)

Next Story

Light Smoking also Damages Lungs, Says Study

Lung function in Light smokers declines at a rate much closer to that of Heavy smokers

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Lung function declines naturally with age (starting in one's 20s), and Smoking accelerates the decline. Pixabay

People smoking fewer than five cigarettes a day cause long-term damage to their lungs, according to a new research.

“Many people assume that smoking a few cigarettes a day isn’t so bad, but it turns out that the difference in loss of lung function between someone who smokes five cigarettes a day versus two packs a day is relatively small,” said study lead author Elizabeth Oelsner, Assistant Professor at Columbia University Vagelos College in the US.

For the study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the researchers looked specifically at lung function–the amount of air a person can breathe in and out–in smokers, ex-smokers, and never-smokers.

Lung function declines naturally with age (starting in one’s 20s), and it’s well-known that smoking accelerates the decline.

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Light Smoking can cause about the same amount of lung function damage in one year as a Heavy Smoking might cause in nine months. Pixabay

Because of the large number of people in the study–more than 25,000– researchers could see differences in lung function among light smokers (less than 5 cigarettes per day) and heavy smokers (more than 30 per day) that other studies have been unable to detect.

Their analysis found that lung function in light smokers declines at a rate much closer to that of heavy smokers, as compared to non-smokers.

This means that a light smoker could lose about the same amount of lung function in one year as a heavy smoker might lose in nine months.

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Smoking fewer than five cigarettes a day cause long-term damage to the lungs. Pixabay

The study also tested an assumption, based on a 40-year-old study, that the rate of decline in lung capacity “normalises” within a few years of quitting smoking.

The new study shows that although lung capacity declines at a much lower rate in ex-smokers than current smokers, the rate doesn’t normalise for at least 30 years.

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According to the researchers, light smokers may have a greater risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (IANS)