E-cigarettes appear to be more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement products

In January 2019 researchers from the UK and the USA published the results of their study to assess the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in encouraging individuals to stop smoking compared with nicotine replacement products. A total of 886 individuals were included in the study who were given either a 3-month’s supply of nicotine-replacement products or an e-cigarette starter pack. The individuals also received behavioural support for at least 4 weeks. Results showed that the 1-year abstinence rate was 18.0% in the e-cigarette group, as compared with 9.9% in the nicotine-replacement group. Among participants with 1-year abstinence, 80% in the e-cigarette group still used their assigned product at 52 weeks compared to 9% in the nicotine-replacement group. 65% of individuals in the e-cigarette group experienced throat or mouth irritation as opposed to 51% in the nicotine-replacement group whereas 38% in the nicotine-replacement group experienced nausea compared to 31% in the e-cigarette group. The e-cigarette group also reported a greater reduction in the incidence of cough and phlegm production than the nicotine-replacement group. No difference was seen between the two groups with respect to wheezing or shortness of breath.

Hajek P et al. A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2019 Jan 30. [Epub ahead of print] 

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