Are E-cigarettes Effective for Smoking Cessation?

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A new study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic¬† Society International Conference concluded that there is little evidence that electronic cigarettes are effective for long-term smoking cessation. Researchers said “While e-cigarettes have been shown to significantly improve abstinence at 1 month compared with placebo, no such evidence is available supporting their effectiveness for longer periods.” “Until such data are available, there are a number of other smoking cessation aids available that have a more robust evidence base supporting their efficacy and safety.”

These conclusions were based upon a mega analysis of four studies of the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes for promoting smoking cessation in 1011 patients and an additional 18 studies of the safety of e-cigarettes reporting adverse effects that occurred in 1212 patients.¬† At 1 month as previously noted, e-cigarettes significantly improved the prevalence of abstinence among study subjects, but this effect was absent at 3 and 6 month follow ups. Adverse effects of e-cigarettes noted included dry cough, throat irritation, and shortness of breath,. The researchers concluded “Although e-cigarettes are widely promoted and used as a smoking cessation tool, we found no data supporting their long term efficacy and safety.” “Given the potential health risks of using these unproven and unregulated devices, individuals seeking help with smoking cessation should consider other more well-established options until more research is performed.”

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