As another crazy year draws to a close, there are a few constants that we can all count on: Great end-of-year lists, Christmas decorations going up too early, and more solid evidence that vaping helps people quit smoking. The latest piece of research that won’t come as a surprise to current vapers comes from the excellent Cochrane Library. In no uncertain terms, they state that “electronic cigarettes with nicotine increase quit rates compared to nicotine replacement therapies.”
Interestingly, they also go on to say that they could not find clear evidence of harm from e-cigarettes when used to quit smoking. However, they did add the caveat that their longest follow-up was over the course of two years.
The Cochrane Library is an esteemed database of scientific studies and reviews. The organisation works to collect data from a variety of studies and combines them into more extensive meta-analyses. The results of studies can produce a lot of variance due to study sizes and conditions, so collecting them together can help the public access more reliable information.
As mentioned above, the Cochrane Library combined various studies where subjects used electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation aids. These studies included:
Cochrane used 78 different studies, 40 of which were randomised controlled trials. Overall, these studies had a combined total of more than 22,000 subjects.
This literature review was motivated by three particular questions.
A) How many people in these trials stopped smoking for at least six months
B) How many people experienced adverse side effects as a result of these interventions
C) How did e-cigarettes compare with other stop-smoking methods
The study sought to compare e-cigarettes against several different ways that people use to quit smoking.
These methods were:
The conclusions from the review were pretty straightforward.
The results won’t be a massive shock to anyone interested in vaping. However, there are some interesting conclusions that we can draw from them.
Firstly, if e-cigarettes are more effective than other methods to help quit smoking, there should be more support from the medical community.
While some parts of the NHS and other UK health bodies have broadly supported vaping, making e-cigarettes available on prescription is essential in the public battle against smoking. Currently, regulators are working with manufacturers to assess products for use by the NHS.
Secondly, some anti-vaping groups criticise vapes because they contain nicotine. However, there isn’t any conclusive evidence that it causes people harm, as evidenced by this and other reports.
However, if nicotine was the real problem for these groups, where are the constant articles about banning nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, sprays, and so on? If they’re convinced that nicotine is harmful, surely all forms of nicotine should fall under their remit? It can only be because of the frequently debunked claim that vaping is a gateway to smoking.
The Cochrane Review is an excellent resource for collecting data on many health issues, including vaping. They’ve highlighted more data that shows the effectiveness of e-cigarettes when compared with other stop-smoking methods. If you think that e-cigarettes should be available on prescription on the NHS or you want to show your support for vaping, contact your local MP and show show your support.