Nicotine-containing vapes are more effective at quitting smoking than patches or gum, and safer than cigarettes, although more evidence of their possible long-term effects is needed. This revealed a new review of the evidence found Wednesday.
The results of a review that drew evidence from 50 studies around the world suggest that vaping could increase the number of people who quit smoking.
“There is now evidence that nicotine electronic cigarettes increase the likelihood of successful abandonment compared to nicotine gum or patches,” said Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, an expert with the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group who co-directed the review.
The review was conducted by Cochrane, an organization that brings together the best of scientific research to assess the relative effectiveness of health interventions.
E-cigarettes have been around for about a decade, and they have grown in popularity significantly in recent years. Unlike chewing gum and plasters, they mimic smoking cigarettes as they are hand-held and produce steam.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills up to half of all consumers and causes more than 8 million deaths annually.
A 2016 Cochrane review also found that e-cigarettes were more likely to help smokers quit than nicotine patches or chewing gum, but the evidence available was leaner at the time.
Also Read: Vaping Could Increase Virus-Related Health Risks, Says FDA
A spate of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths in the US last year put an emphasis on vaping and e-cigarettes and resulted in bans on some types of products.
The outbreak wasn’t linked to nicotine-containing vapes, however, and seemed to be fading late last year as evidence grew that vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent used in marijuana vapes, might be behind the cases.
The Cochrane team said they did not find any conclusive evidence during this review of serious harm from nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, but noted that the evidence is uncertain due to the still relatively small number of studies.
“Scientific consensus says that electronic cigarettes are far less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but not without risk,” said Hartmann-Boyce.
John Britton, professor of respiratory medicine at Nottingham University, said the review was “comprehensive” and gave “definitive confirmation that electronic cigarettes provide smokers with an effective way to quit”.
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