Electronic Cigarettes Improve Long-Term Smoking Cessation

MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 — Nicotine electronic cigarettes (ECs) improve long-term smoking cessation compared with nicotine replacement therapy, according to a review published online Oct. 14 in the Cochrane Library.

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, D.Phil., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the effect and safety of using ECs to help smokers achieve long-term smoking abstinence. Data were included from 50 studies, with 12,430 participants. Of these studies, 26 were randomized controlled trials.

The researchers found moderate-certainty evidence for higher quit rates in people randomly assigned to nicotine EC than in those randomly assigned to nicotine replacement therapy (risk ratio, 1.69; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.25 to 2.27); this might translate to four additional successful quitters per 100 in absolute terms. Low-certainty evidence was found indicating no difference in the rate of adverse events. Serious adverse events were rare, with no evidence that their frequency differed. Moderate-certainty evidence indicated that quit rates were higher in people randomly assigned to nicotine EC versus non-nicotine EC (risk ratio, 1.71; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 2.92), also leading to four additional successful quitters per 100 in absolute terms. Quit rates were higher for participants randomly assigned to nicotine EC compared with behavioral support only/no support (risk ratio, 2.50; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.24 to 5.04), representing an increase of six per 100 in absolute terms.

“There is now evidence that electronic cigarettes with nicotine are likely to increase the chances of quitting successfully compared to nicotine gum or patches,” Hartman-Boyce said in a statement.

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