The effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking

First published: 10/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

The effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking

T. R. Partos, L. Brose, S.C. Hitchman & A. McNeill

Aims

Real-world research in England showed that smokers using e-cigarettes to quit were more likely to report abstinence than those using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) purchased over-the-counter or no aid. Other research suggested newer generation e-cigarettes are more effective than older ones. We assessed the effectiveness of old and new generation e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking.

Design

Cross-sectional study, aggregating data from three waves of an online survey, carried out Dec 2013, Dec 2014, and May/June 2016.

Setting

Panel managed by Ipsos Interactive Services.

Participants

Cigarette smokers, recent ex-smokers and vapers from Great Britain, selected using quotas to be representative of age, sex, and geographical region. 1675 participants (providing 2026 observations) had made a recent quit attempt and met selection criteria.

Measurements

Outcome: self-reported smoking vs quit completely.

Predictor: quit method on last attempt 1) self-help/no aid; 2) e-cigarette disposable/rechargeable cartridge (‘old’); 3) tank e-cigarette (‘new’); 4) NRT; [prescription medications, face-to-face behavioural support, e-cigarettes/NRT combination, don’t know excluded].

Covariates: dependence, quitting history, socio-demographics.

Analysis: multilevel logistic regression controlling for correlation among multiple responses provided by same individuals in different surveys.

Findings

Quitting: 31.2% no aid; 19.9% old e-cigarette; 38.0% new e-cigarette; 21.7% NRT. In fully-adjusted model, new e-cigarettes were significantly more effective than unaided quit attempts OR=2.19(95%CI:1.50,3.19) and NRT OR = 1.68(95%CI:1.01,2.80).

Conclusion

Newer electronic cigarettes were more effective at supporting quit attempts than using NRT or no aids/self-help.

Co-Authors

Dr Leonie Brose, Lecturer, Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience Dr Sara Hitchman, Lecturer, Addictions Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience


Conflicts of interest:

No conflict of interest

Professor Ann McNeill