Strong Evidence Favours Vaping

Latest research work from the University of Oxford has found “the strongest evidence yet” that vaping works far better than traditional nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and chewing gums. They discovered ecigs offered help to smokers making their quit attempts and resulted in them remaining smoke-free when followed up six months later.

The Cochrane Reviews are looked upon as being the gold standard in research and are used to inform health service policy making and medical opinion. Language tends to be very measured in the reviews and so it is striking when this latest one describes the findings as being “high certainty evidence”.

They found:

·Nicotine e‐cigarettes can help people to stop smoking for at least six months.
·Evidence shows they work better than nicotine replacement therapy.
·They may work better than no support, or behavioural support alone.

The evidence was amassed from 78 different studies which covered more than 22,000 people.
Professor Nicholas Hopkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, said: “Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and disability, and a powerful driver of health inequality. There are still more than 6 million people in the UK who smoke, and these findings strongly support making e-cigarettes available as one of the options to help them to quit. Smoking cessation services can continue to be confident supporting smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.

An important real-world issue is that these services are woefully underfunded. A polluter-pays levy on tobacco industry profits would bring in around £700 million to the Department of Health to fund these and other public health measures. The government must move swiftly to implement this and other recommendations from Javed Khan’s review ‘making smoking obsolete’ to deliver on its Smokefree 2030 ambition.
Dr Sarah Jackson, Principal Research Fellow, UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said: “E-cigarettes are popular among smokers who want to quit, with one in every three quit attempts in England involving an e-cigarette. A growing number of trials have tested whether e-cigarettes make smokers more likely to quit successfully. This review provides the most rigorous and up-to-date summary of this evidence.

“With more data available than ever before, the authors concluded that there is now high-certainty evidence that e-cigarettes are even more effective in helping people to quit than traditional nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine patches and gum.
These findings follow a recent review of the harms of e-cigarettes, which showed clear evidence that vaping poses only a small fraction of the health risks of smoking. Taken together, these reports should provide reassurance to smokers that e-cigarettes are much safer to use and can increase your chances of quitting.”

Professor John Britton, Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, University of Nottingham, said: “This comprehensive evidence review confirms, once again, that nicotine e-cigarettes help smokers to quit smoking; and that these products are more effective than medically licensed nicotine replacement therapies. All smokers should therefore try vaping as a means to end their dependency on smoking tobacco.”

Cancer Research UK welcomed the findings of the latest Cochrane Review, proclaiming that “e-cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation tool.”