Cigarette smokers prefer e-cigarettes to FDA-approved quit methods, according to a research brief authored by the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, RTI International and the University of North Carolina (here).
Using a nationally representative online survey of 15,943 adult smokers who tried to quit during the past three months, they found that 75% used one or more methods to quit, and 25% used only one method, as shown below.
|Weighted Prevalence (%) of Methods Used By 15,943 Adult Smokers Who Attempted to Quit in Past 3 Months|
|Quit Method||One Method Only||Multiple Methods|
|Gave up cigarettes all at once||14.7%||65%|
|Gradually cut back||6.6||62|
|Partially substituted e-cigarettes||1.1||35|
|Switched completely to e-cigarettes||1.1||25|
|Used nicotine gum or patch||0.8||25|
|Used Zyban or Chantix||0.4||12|
|Switched to “mild” cigarettes||0.3||20|
|Sought help – health professional||0.2||15|
|Sought help – website||less than 0.1||7|
|Sought help – telephone quitline||less than 0.1||7|
E-cigarettes were far more popular single quit aids for partial or complete substitution (2.2%), compared with nicotine patches/gum (0.8%) or other prescription medicines (0.4%). They were also more popular when more than one aid was used.
Of note, telephone quitlines were rarely used. The government has poured millions of dollars into this mini-industry, yet quitlines were used by a mere 0.02% (unweighted, n=3) of smokers as single quit aids in this study.
Participants here were current smokers. A similar analysis performed on former smokers will show even more impressive effects from vaping.
Despite the current study’s evidence of vaping’s popularity among smokers, the authors’ summation was understated: “Given that our data show that e-cigarettes are more commonly used for quit attempts than FDA-approved medications, further research is warranted on the safety and effectiveness of using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.”
The fact is that the CDC has documented with real-world data that e-cigarettes are preferred smoking cessation aids, negating the argument that evidence is merely “anecdotal” (here).
Our government should adopt the UK Royal College of Physicians’ position that “the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.” (here). In Britain e-cigs have been the leading quit-smoking aid since 2013 (here, page 46).