Electronic cigarettes have been around for some years. The first prototypes appeared between 1963 and 1967; then disappeared without ever being commercially produced.
In 2004, they were launched on the Chinese market by another party and have come a long way since then.
Ecigs are really only just recently gaining popularity in countries such as Australia.
So just how good are they as an alternative to tobacco – i.e. how many people who make the switch to vaping don’t go back to smoking cigarettes? What about formally recognised nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine chewing gum and patches?
Survey results in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine revealed some very interesting statistics regarding e-cigarettes.
31.0% of the 222 respondents who tried ecigs were still not smoking cigarettes after 6 months. Some of these people were long term smokers who had tried to quit unsuccessfully multiple times.
That figure is impressive, but even more so was the fact the respondents using e-cigarettes more than 20 times per day had a quit rate of 70.0%.
Even better news – of those who had stayed off the smokes for 6 months; 34.3% were not using e-cigarettes or any nicotine-containing products by that point. This is really encouraging for me as I don’t want to stay on ecigs for the rest of my life if possible.
These results are astounding compared to endorsed nicotine replacement therapies that are far more expensive (and far less comfortable in my opinion). For example, a study on the effectiveness of nicotine patches found just 8.2% had abstained from smoking after 24 weeks.
In a study of those using nicotine chewing gum (also expensive), Only 7.7% of the prescribed gum group and 8.4% in the over the counter gum group were not smoking at six months.
I had tried both patches and gum and failed spectacularly. In fact, when using the gum, I wound up with a dual habit – cigarettes and gum – and it took me a good year just to kick the gum.
It’s my personal belief that the failure in some countries to recognise electronic cigarettes as a bona fide smoking cessation tool is akin to signing the death warrant for many thousands of heavily addicted smokers who could benefit from these devices.
If governments are really serious about getting people to quit smoking, the sooner ecigs are properly researched and endorsed by these government authorities, the better. It will mean better control over the industry, which will mean even safer, better quality products for all of us.