Electronic cigarettes may be a helpful tool for those who are looking to quit smoking, according to a recent study. This complicates the public health narrative around this new tobacco product, which have grown in popularity in the U.S. over the past decade.
E-cigarettes are relatively new to the market, and their rapid popularity has caused public health agencies to grapple to create regulations and messaging around a technology with unclear health implications. This study, published in the journal BMJ, puts some weight behind the idea the e-cigarettes can have a positive health impact on those who are trying to kick cigarettes.
The e-cigarette uses a coil to heat a nicotine solution so it can be inhaled as vapor. This process can allow users to get their nicotine fix while leaving behind the carcinogens associated with breathing in smoke. Trading in a regular cigarette for an electronic option could have significant health implications considering smoking cigarettes remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego looked at over 160,000 people over 14 years and found that people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were more successful than those who didn’t.
Americans are quitting smoking at higher rates, according to this study. This trend tracks neatly with an increase in the use of e-cigarettes. The study found that 5.6 percent of the smokers quit in 2014-15, which is up from the 2010-11 rates (4.5 percent). While this shift may seem small, it represents an additional 350,000 Americans quitting smoking in 2014-15.