E-cigarettes help more smokers to quit

A complete ban to the ends of stopping underage use of vaping devices is way over the line and infringes on the freedom of adults who choose to use these products

E-cigarettes help more smokers to quit

Quitting is notoriously hard, even with decades-old nicotine aids and newer prescription drugs.

Yet, the FDA's current and continued actions against the e-cigarette industry are impeding current smokers' access to e-cigarettes.

Based on the findings, the American Lung Association recommended that Arizona put more funding toward prevention programs and increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Stokes and his colleagues explored the influence of e-cigarettes through the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (PATH), a nationally-representative sample of kids aged 12 to 15 who completed annual questionnaires between 2013 and 2016. Last year, an influential panel of USA experts concluded there was only "limited evidence" of their effectiveness.

Participants in the study received a $26 starter kit for e-cigarettes while other participants received a three-month supply of nicotine replacement products of their choice valued at $159.

In a reverse analysis, the researchers behind the study also found an association between cigarette smoking and subsequent use of e-cigarettes, "suggesting that e-cigarettes may divert smokers toward e-cigarettes in some youths" while increasing the alternative risk of cigarette initiation among others who initially used e-cigarettes.

Professor Robert West of University College London, said: 'This study is of huge significance. Participants in this experiment underwent chemical breath testing. "Both e-cigarettes and nicotine-replacement products were perceived to be less satisfying than cigarettes", Hajek et al. write. Participants were responsible for buying additional supplies as they needed them.

"The US Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit", said Jennifer Hobbs Folkenroth, who is the American Lung Association's senior director of tobacco. He said the company won't offer its smoke-free products to people who have never smoked or those who have quit smoking.

By the 52nd week, 18 per cent of the e-cigarette group was still off cigarettes, compared to 9.9 per cent of the standard treatment group.

A 2015 study in Environmental Health Perspectives found a potential link between certain e-cigarette vape flavours and a condition called popcorn lung, which causes inflammation and permanent scarring in the lung's airways, INSIDER previously reported.

USA health authorities have been more reluctant about backing the products, in part because of the long-term effects are unknown. So while e-cigarettes could potentially help existing smokers quit when paired with therapy, they can also pose an addiction risk. The American Cancer Society took a similar position past year.

"E-cigarettes are at least 95% less risky than cigarettes", she said, "and so even if someone is still using an e-cigarette, the benefits outweigh any cons". Even the success rate using nicotine replacement therapy seen in this study is actually pretty high compared to other studies measuring its effectiveness.

There has been some opposition to the idea of vaping to quit smoking. Winning such an endorsement would require large studies that can take years and cost millions of dollars. Most of it stems from the huge increase of use among high-school students and young adults. It showed teenage use surged 78 percent between 2017 and 2018. Throat or mouth irritation was reported more frequently in the e-cigarette group and nausea was reported more often in the NRT group, but the effects were mostly mild. Those devices have largely been overtaken in the U.S.by Juul and similar devices that have prefilled nicotine cartridges, or pods.

What's more, 80% of those in the study's e-cig group were still using e-cigs at the one-year mark. "One reason is that there are over 400 brands of e-cigarettes and they vary substantially". To objectively measure their progress, they also had their breathing levels of carbon monoxide (a common toxin in cigarette smoke that lingers in exhaled air) monitored.

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