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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Zealand Study On E-Cigarettes

It seems like overnight e-cigarettes have become a craze around the world despite the fact that there has been very little research conducted on the effectiveness and long term effects of the devices. In just about every major city one can locate an e-cigarette vendor that sells the devices as well as the nicotine e-juice that comes in countless different flavors.

As the devices become more popular, a number of research teams have conducted studies to determine the effectiveness of using e-cigarettes compared to traditional smoking cessation methods such as: patches, gums, and placebo inhalers. One such study has found that e-cigarettes are about as effective as nicotine patches. Researchers found that even if people do not quit smoking altogether, those who use e-cigarettes smoke fewer cigarettes, according to NBC News.

New Zealand researchers studied 657 people who wanted to quit smoking. The test subjects received a 13-week supply of either e-cigarettes, nicotine patches or placebo e-cigarettes that had no nicotine.

In six months time, almost 6 percent of participants had stopped smoking, with more smokers in the e-cigarette group quitting than the other groups. However, researchers found that the difference was not statistically significant. 57 percent of subjects given real e-cigarettes were smoking half as many cigarettes daily as they had before their involvement in the study, compared with 41 percent of those who received nicotine patches.

This is the first major study to demonstrate that e-cigarettes can benefit smokers, according to the article. 

“Our study establishes a critical benchmark for e-cigarette performance compared to nicotine patches and placebo e-cigarettes, but there is still so much that is unknown about the effectiveness and long-term effects of e-cigarettes,” lead researcher Chris Bullen said in a news release. “Given the increasing popularity of these devices in many countries, and the accompanying regulatory uncertainty and inconsistency, larger, longer-term trials are urgently needed to establish whether these devices might be able to fulfill their potential as effective and popular smoking cessation aids.”  

The study appears in the journal The Lancet.
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