England study: Electronic cigarettes are most effective for quitting smoking

With the events of 2020 prompting us to prioritize our health, it comes to no surprise that most decided to gun for a healthier lifestyle when the year began.

But as the old adage goes, old habits die hard and new habits are hard to keep. Research shows that around this time—late January to early February—80% of those who start working on resolutions on January 1, end up totally abandoning them. This ‘phenomenon’ is mostly due to instant, but ineffective methods of taking on new habits and letting go of bad ones.

Case in point, are heavy smokers who have turned to traditional methods to try and quit.

For years, smokers who have been wanting to stop smoking have either gone ‘cold turkey’ or have tried Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), an alternative means of getting nicotine through objects like Nicotine patches and chewing gum. And while there are many methods under NRT, studies have shown that NRT may actually be ineffective, with a chunk of smokers subscribing to these methods eventually relapsing.

So, what are other viable options? Well, while it may initially sound counterproductive, smoking e-cigarettes to quit smoking might just be the best method yet.

In fact, a recent study that involved the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England even confirmed this, as it mentioned, “e-cigarettes could increase the number of people who stop smoking compared to nicotine replacement therapy.”

Here are some reasons why:

 

E-cigarettes mimic the experience of smoking a cigarette.

For some heavy smokers, smoking conventional cigarettes is something that is embedded in their lifestyle, which makes it truly difficult to completely and instantly eradicate it from one’s daily routine.

With e-cigarettes, users get a comparable experience to smoking a conventional cigarette, potentially eliminating the habitual and psychological desire to return to smoking traditional cigarettes as the smoking experience is already somewhat accounted for.

According to Professor Caitlin Notley, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, modern electronic cigarette products even have better nicotine delivery than the early devices, proving that e-cigarettes don’t just replace the nicotine consumed, they present a stand-in and potentially less harmful experience for adult smokers to include as part of their daily routine.

 

Electronic cigarettes provide a versatile transition.

One other aspect of electronic cigarettes that is often overlooked is the fact that manufacturers typically offer varying levels of nicotine concentrations for the accompanying e-liquids. This provides versatility for users seeking to first utilize a nicotine level that is similar to the smoking habit, and then gradually “step-down” to lower nicotine levels over time, eventually weaning off nicotine altogether.

This stepped process allows former tobacco smokers to transition away from smoking in a more measured manner at a comfortable pace, minimizing the desire to go back to cigarette smoking.

 

E-cigarettes are more successful in helping people to quit smoking.

In the same aforementioned study, researchers identified three more studies involving 1,498 smokers that tested and compared nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes with nicotine replacement therapy given as patches or gum. The results revealed that smokers who used e-cigarettes were more likely to quit compared to those who used other NRT methods, with e-cigarettes prompting 10 in every 100 participants to quit as opposed to 6 out of 100 for NRT.

This has been corroborated by many other studies that found electronic cigarettes to be the most effective tool for adult smokers looking to quit the habit.

 

E-cigarettes are considerably less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

Even though we have limited access to data from studies surrounding the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, the evidence from the UEA study clearly demonstrates that e-cigarettes are much safer than continuing to smoke tobacco.

Beyond the landmark study by Public Health England which found electronic cigarettes to be at least 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes, international authorities around the world have also embraced the product as a key component of the national tobacco harm reduction strategy.

Countries like New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which have implemented legislation to professionalize the industry as well as to ensure a minimum level of standards, so that consumers can purchase electronic cigarettes with greater peace of mind.

The United Kingdom has taken it further by issuing permits to two vape stores to operate the business on the premises of two National Health Service hospitals in the West Midlands, as part of its efforts to eradicate smoking.

With the growing number of studies that prove its effectiveness, switching to e-cigarettes is the logical choice to help in keeping people’s resolution to quit smoking and finally live a healthier and smoke-free lifestyle.