Monday January 20, 2020

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

Know About the Adverse Health Effects of Smoking Hookah

Smoking hookah may increase heart attack, stroke risk

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Tobacco smoke from hookah can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Pixabay

Researchers have found that tobacco smoke from a hookah caused blood to function abnormally and be more likely to clot and quickly form blood clots, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, found that tobacco smoke caused blood clots to form within an average of about 11 seconds, compared to an average of five minutes for clotting without exposure to hookah smoke.

Exposure to the hookah smoke also caused other abnormalities related to the way the blood flows, the research added. Some studies have found that the smoke emitted from one hookah tobacco smoking episode contains significantly more harmful chemicals compared to a single cigarette.

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Hookah smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes. Pixabay

“Our findings provide new evidence that hookah smoking is as unhealthy – if not more so – than traditional cigarettes. “Smoking a hookah, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other forms of tobacco all increase your risk for heart disease and stroke,” said study researcher Fadi Khasawneh from University of Texas in the US.

In this study, researchers exposed mice to smoke from a smoking hookah’s machine that mimicked real-life smoking habits.

The smoking machine used 12 grams of commercially available, flavoured tobacco that included tobacco, glycerin, molasses and natural flavour with nicotine and tar. Researchers then compared platelet activity among the exposed versus the unexposed mice.

The study simulated the type of nicotine exposure that occurs with smoking a hookah, which the researchers verified by measuring the levels of cotinine, the nicotine metabolite.

In May 2019, the American Heart Association published a Scientific Statement, “Water Pipe Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease Risk,” to analyse available research on the health effects.

The statement noted that tobacco smoking results in inhaling significant levels of toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide and particulates from tobacco that can harm blood vessels, the heart and lungs, as well as creating a dependence on nicotine.

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This study provides additional evidence that, contrary to popular belief, smoking hookahs adversely affects cardiovascular health.

“Water pipe smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes, yet hookahs carry a toxic profile that is thought to be comparable or to even exceed that of traditional cigarettes,” Khasawneh added. (IANS)