The JAMA study analyzed data on 6,123 youth collected by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2013 to 2016.
Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Lead, Public Health England, said: "This landmark research shows that switching to an e-cigarette can be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, especially when combined with face-to-face support".
However, up until now there had been a shortage of evidence on how effective they were as stop-smoking tools. "Health professionals have been reluctant to recommend [e-cigarettes] because of the lack of clear evidence from randomized controlled trials", he told The New York Times.
Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death worldwide, blamed for almost 6 million deaths a year. Quitting is notoriously hard, even with decades-old nicotine aids and newer prescription drugs.
The report states that more than 480,000 people die every year in the US due to tobacco usage. Last year, an influential panel of USA experts concluded there was only "limited evidence" of their effectiveness. In other words, e-cigarettes save lives.
E-cigarettes have no tobacco, but contain nicotine-laced liquids that the user inhales in a vapor.
Przulj is a research health psychologist with the Health and Lifestyles Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
Professor Peter Hajek said: 'This is the first trial to test the efficacy of modern e-cigarettes in helping smokers quit.
Vaping opponents will probably make much of the fact that many study participants in the vaping group were still vaping after a year (80 percent of the quitters, versus just 9 percent of NRT users who quit). Participants were responsible for buying follow-up supplies.
The NHS-funded study identified "vaping" as six times more effective than trying to kick the habit alone. I'm sure he does, but if he really wanted to help this demographic of Americans, he'd do more to correct misperceptions about e-cigarette safety, instead of stoking fears. Some of the authors have been paid consultants to makers of anti-smoking products.
US health authorities have been more reluctant about backing the products, in part because of the long-term effects are unknown.
Despite all this, there's something about either e-cigarettes or the experience of vaping that appears to open the doorway for these particular kids, making them more likely to light up in the future, Stokes said.
Among the challenges smokers face when trying to give up smoking such as inability to concentrate and irritability were also found lower in those who used e-cigarettes. The American Cancer Society took a similar position past year. It also was unable to examine how the association of e-cigarette use with cigarette initiation may vary by different products or use behavior patterns.
At the end of the year, 18 percent of the vapers were no longer smoking.
A higher proportion of those who used the devices experienced mouth and throat irritation (65 percent v 51 percent), although people using the nicotine-replacement treatments were more likely to report nausea (38 percent v 31 percent).
FILE - Talia Eisenberg, co-founder of the Henley Vaporium, uses her vaping device in New York, Feb. 20, 2014.
There has been some opposition to the idea of vaping to quit smoking. It has not scientifically reviewed any of the e-cigarettes on the market and has put off some key regulations until 2022.
Yet, the FDA's current and continued actions against the e-cigarette industry are impeding current smokers' access to e-cigarettes. Federal law prohibits sales to those under 18, but 1 in 5 high school students reported vaping a year ago, according to a government survey. It showed teenage use surged 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. E-cigarettes were nearly twice as effective as the "gold standard" combination of nicotine replacement products. Those devices have largely been overtaken in the U.S.by Juul and similar devices that have prefilled nicotine cartridges, or pods.
For one, the United Kingdom has already been pretty welcoming to the idea of e-cigarette use as a cessation tool.
Nicotine addiction is one potential explanation for this effect, said Dr. Christy Sadreameli, a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and a volunteer spokeswoman for the American Lung Association.
Myers' group is one of several anti-smoking organizations suing the FDA to immediately begin reviewing e-cigarettes.
Armitage, who has smoked for 15 years, said he also tried nicotine patches but found they irritated his skin.