New study finds e-cigarettes can help smokers quit

According to a new study published in the scientific journal Addiction, a positive link exists between the prevalence of e‐cigarette use in England and overall smoking quit rates and quit success rates.

The study, led by researchers at University College London, was funded by Cancer Research UK.

The researchers wanted to see how changes in the prevalence of e‐cigarette use in England have been associated with changes in smoking cessation activities and daily cigarette consumption.

The team used data from the Smoking Toolkit Study, a programme which has tracked key indicators of smoking and smoking cessation in England since 2006,

They found that overall quit rates rose as the prevalence of e‐cigarette use by smokers increased. In fact, the team estimated that in 2017 around 50,700 to 69,930 smokers had stopped who would have continued smoking otherwise.

Lead author Dr Emma Beard, Senior Research Associate at UCL, commented: “This study builds on population surveys and clinical trials that find e-cigarettes can help smokers to stop. England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes. Marketing is tightly controlled so we are seeing very little use of e-cigarettes by never-smokers of any age while millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.”

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK senior policy manager, said: “E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, they aren’t risk free and we don’t yet know their long-term impact. We strongly discourage non-smokers from using them.

“But research so far shows that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco and can help people to stop smoking, so it’s good that over 50,000 people managed to give up in 2017. For the best chance of quitting, get support from a Stop Smoking Service, who can help you find the right tools for you.”

Journal Citation

“Association of prevalence of electronic cigarette use with smoking cessation and cigarette consumption in England: a time series analysis between 2006 and 2017”
E. Beard R. West S. Michie J. Brown
First published: 16 October 2019