New Cochrane review finds emerging evidence that smokers who use electronic cigarettes can stop or reduce their smoking.
The first Cochrane review on this subject published today in the Cochrane Library gives some early insights in to electronic cigarettes as an aid to stopping smoking and reducing consumption... The team of researchers from the UK and New Zealand found two randomised trials that had analysed data from 662 current smokers. The researchers looked at the effects of electronic cigarettes on quit rates and the number of people who were able to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by at least 50%. They also looked at any adverse effects reported by electronic cigarette users. The team also considered evidence from 11 observational studies.The results show beneficial effects of electronic cigarettes, but are limited by the small number of trials and limited sample of people who were analysed in the studies. About 9% of smokers who used electronic cigarettes were able to stop smoking at up to one year. This compared with around 4% of smokers who used the nicotine-free electronic cigarettes.... Author, Jamie Hartmann-Boyce said, “electronic cigarettes have become popular with smokers who want to reduce the risk of smoking. None of the studies in this review found that smokers who used electronic cigarettes short-term (2 years or less) had an increased health risk compared to smokers who did not use electronic cigarettes. We did not find any evidence from observational studies that people who used electronic cigarettes at the same time as using regular cigarettes were less likely to quit smoking. Findings suggest electronic cigarettes with nicotine help people stop or reduce smoking when compared to electronic cigarettes without nicotine, but more studies are needed.”
This being a review of the evidence, all the studies in it have been published before and anyone who claims to be an authority on the subject should be aware of them. The endlessly repeated claim that "we just don't know" whether e-cigarettes help people quit is a delaying tactic. We are about to head into 2015 and plenty of research has been done. If you still "just don't know" then you are a liar or a knave. Either way, you're not qualified to talk about the subject.
See the BBC and Guardian.