E-cigarettes may help smokers quit after all

E-cigarettes may help smokers quit after all

The global scientific community is divided over e-cigarettes and whether they are a useful public health tool as a nicotine replacement therapy or a potential "gateway" for young people to move on to start smoking tobacco.

Yet, Dr Aruni Bhatnagar, director of the American Heart Association's Tobacco Research and Addiction Center, added: 'We just don't know if moving to e-cigarettes is good enough to reduce the harm'.

It all coincides with the increased popularity of e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette users were identified from the most recent survey, while smoking quit rates were obtained from those who had reported smoking cigarettes 12 months before the survey.

The Truth Initiative, a USA antismoking group, has embraced the so-called "harm reduction" approach, advising smokers who are unable to quit to switch to products such as Swedish-style tobacco pouches called snus or "properly regulated" e-cigarettes.

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Tobacco companies want US regulators to approve new marketing claims for smokeless products as a safer alternative to smoking, and some public-health advocates agree.

"People should be open to consider e-cigarettes as a way to help them quit, especially if they have used everything else in the past", Zhu said.

They found that 65 percent of smokers who used e-cigarettes attempted to quit, while only 40 percent of those not using the devices tried to quit smoking.

This translates to about 350,000 more smokers kicking the habit.

Zhu added that a national tobacco control campaign that began airing in 2012 probably also helped boost quit rates.

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AACS CEO Jeff Rogut has argued that while the ban remains in place, e-cigarette users must source their nicotine online without quality assurance. More than 70 percent of those who quit smoking recently were successful, but they used e-cigs daily to prevent a relapse.

Schroeder and Zhu concede that e-cigarettes are probably not completely safe, but are likely less harmful than regular cigarettes.

Glantz, in fact, previously authored a study finding that e-cigarettes may actually stymie efforts to quit smoking.

"This study suggests that we should be receptive to the kind of approach that health authorities in England have taken, encouraging smokers who can not quit otherwise to try e-cigarettes", Warner said.

In the United States, public health organizations have focused nearly exclusively on the potential adverse consequences of e-cigarettes for kids, to the detriment of the health of adults who might benefit from a more positive take on e-cigarettes, he said. Food and Drug Administration finalized rules to regulate e-cigarettes.

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This is one of the largest representative samples of e-cig users, but the study does have limitations.

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