A new study led by Dr Gary Chan of the University of Queensland's National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research has added to the scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are a more effective tool for helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapies, including patches and gum.
The study, which was published in the journal Addictive Behaviours, found e-cigarettes to be 50 per cent more effective than nicotine replacement therapy and over 100 per cent more effective than the placebo.
The findings of the study draw into question the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommendation that electronic cigarettes be used as a second-line treatment.
Dr Chan noted in a University of Queensland news release that the recommendation as a second-line treatment "could be re-evaluated" in light of the study's findings.
"Currently the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends e-cigarettes as a second line treatment to support smoking cessation, however in light of our findings, this recommendation could be re-evaluated."
The researchers behind the study examined 16 different vaping and smoking trials, which accumulatively had over 12,750 participants. After reviewing the existing evidence and comparing e-cigs to traditional nicotine replacement therapies and placebos, the researchers found e-cigarettes to be more effective than the traditional replacement therapy options, including nicotine patches, inhalators, intranasal sprays, gum, mouth spray, and lozenges.
"We hope the findings from this study can be used to better inform policies around e-cigarettes and cigarette smoking," Dr Chan said while noting that e-cigs "have the potential to accelerate the decline of cigarette smoking."
"E-cigarettes have the potential to accelerate the decline of cigarette smoking."
Dr Chan is now calling for the available evidence to be used to reconsider how e-cigarettes can be used to end cigarette smoking.
"The evidence needs to be used to consider how we could harness their potential to end the cigarette smoking epidemic."
Explaining why e-cigs may be more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapies, Dr Chan indicated that the reason why e-cigs containing nicotine might be more effective is "because they deliver a small amount of nicotine to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and provide a similar behavioural and sensory experience as smoking tobacco products."
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