E-cigarettes have quickly become one of the most popular nicotine replacement tools on the market for adult smokers looking to make a quit attempt. Many studies have found them to be significantly more effective than other NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) options like patches and gum, and a new study has concluded that not only can they help smokers quit, but they can do so without increasing the users nicotine dependence.
E-cig users report significantly lower dependence
The study was conducted by researchers at the Centre for Research on Tobacco and Health at the Pennsylvania State University and involved 520 participants who were interested in reducing their cigarette intake but with no plans of quitting smoking altogether.
As part of the six month study participants randomly received an e-cigarette that delivered either 36, 8, or 0 mg/ml of nicotine, or a cigarette substitute that did not contain tobacco, to be used in an effort to reduce their cigarette consumption.
After six months all participants using an e-cigarette reported significant decreases in cigarette consumption, especially those using the 36 mg/ml nicotine strength.
A greater reduction than cigarette substitutes
The study, published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, also found that those using an e-cigarette reported significantly lower dependence on the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index than those who were using the cigarette substitute. These results lead researchers to conclude that ‘e-cig use [is] associated with reduced cigarette dependence, compared to the CS (cigarette substitute), without significant increases in total nicotine exposure.’
Lead researcher Jessica Yingst, assistant professor of public health sciences and Penn State Cancer Institute researcher, explained:
“Research on this topic is conflicted because, in prior studies, participants used their own devices with unknown nicotine delivery profiles. Our study used devices with known nicotine delivery profiles, which allowed us to effectively compare how the varying levels of nicotine in a device might affect user nicotine dependence and ability to reduce cigarette consumption.”
Speaking on the findings Yingst adds:
“Our results suggest that using e-cigarettes or a cigarette substitute to reduce cigarette consumption can result in a reduction of self-reported cigarette use and dependence. Importantly, use of the high concentration e-cigarette did not increase overall nicotine dependence, and was associated with a greater reduction in cigarette smoking compared to the cigarette substitute.”
As the research was conducted in the US, where the laws on e-cigarettes and e-liquids differ from the UK, it did involve the use of a nicotine strength higher than those available in the UK, where e-liquids cannot legally contain more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine. However, the research does indicate that using a strength that matches your current intake from smoking gives the best chances of a successful reduction in cigarette consumption, and that e-cigarettes are an extremely effective tool.
At a glance
·After six months all participants using an e-cigarette reported significant decreases in cigarette consumption
·Those using an e-cigarette reported significantly lower dependence on the Penn State Cigarette Dependence Index than those who were using the cigarette substitute
·“Our results suggest that using e-cigarettes or a cigarette substitute to reduce cigarette consumption can result in a reduction of self-reported cigarette use and dependence.”