Summary of Recent Vape Study: What We Can Take Away


© New England Journal of Medicine
As you may have seen in the news, reported first by Reuters and CNBC, researchers from the Queen Mary University of London recently completed a study comparing the effectiveness of nicotine-replacement therapies vs. e-cigarettes in helping smokers to quit. You may have read the article, or seen others trying to capitalize on the traffic for the CNBC story, but we wanted to give you the full scope of the results from the study. So, in today's blog, we'll cover the methodology, results, and conclusion from this study,  and what we can take away from it!

Methods [1]:
According to the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the methodology for this study was fairly simple. The participant group was assembled by randomly selecting attendees of the U.K. National Health Service stop-smoking services and randomly assigned them into one of two groups. Group 1 gave the attendees their choice of any nicotine-replacement therapy products and provided them with those products for up to 3 months, while Group 2 was given an e-cigarette starter kit and two bottles of juice (in 18mg Nicotine strength) and were encouraged to go out and purchase flavors to their liking once they finished the original two bottles. Both groups were given weekly behavioral support for at least 4 weeks, or until they chose to no longer attend the sessions, with the decision being left to the smoker. The primary goal of the study was to sustain abstinence from smoking for at least one calendar year. Following the end of that year, the participants were surveyed on the success of their quit-smoking methods, and the results were tallied and displayed in percentages based on success rates.

Results [1]:
A total of 886 smokers participated in the year-long study, and the results were as follows:

  • The one-year abstinence rate was 18% in e-cigarette users
  • The one-year abstinence rate was 9.9% in nicotine-replacement therapy users
Among participants with a one-year success-rate:
  • 80% of participants [63 of 79 participants] continued use with their e-cigarette through week 52 
  • 9% of participants [4 of 44 participants] continued use of their nicotine-replacement therapies through week 52
Conclusion [1]:
According to the data gathered, based purely on quit-rates compared between the two methods, "e-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy when both products were accompanied by behavioral support.". A great step towards finding the truth about how effective e-cigarettes really are in helping smokers quit, while also shining a light on how ineffective nicotine-replacement therapies are for many smokers. In fact, the disparaging difference between the public's perception (due to misinformation campaigns by the media and government officials) shows that public health would be best served by paying attention to the facts and not to wallets. 

[1] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779?query=featured_home 

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