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E-cigarettes may help you quit smoking, even if you don’t want to

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A US study of 1,600 smokers who did not initially use e-cigarettes and had no plans to ever quit smoking found using e-cigs daily increased the chances of them quitting the smokes by eight times, compared with smokers who didn’t use e-cigs at all.

The majority of published experiments analyzing whether electronic nicotine delivery products (e-cigarettes) can assist cigarette smokers stop have been limited to smokers who are planning to quit or have not taken smokers’ quit intentions into account.

However, a new analysis using data from the US nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study looked at daily cigarette smokers who did not intend to quit smoking and discovered that subsequent daily use of e-cigarettes was positively associated with change in intentions to quit cigarette use.

A long-standing theory suggests that even taking the first step toward contemplating quitting smoking can have an impact on net cigarette cessation rates.

In this study, the researchers looked at whether the use of e-cigarettes was associated with cigarette quitting among adult daily cigarette users who did not intend to quit smoking and who did not use e-cigarettes at the time of the study.

Participants

They used data from four waves of the PATH Study, which were collected in the years 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017, and 2018–2019, to broaden the scope of population-based e-cigarette use and cigarette discontinuation studies to include this part of the smoking community.

Based on data from 1600 adult participants, the composition of the US population of adult daily cigarette smokers who were not using e-cigarettes and had no plans to ever quit smoking for good was 56.1 percent male; 10.1 percent Hispanic; 10.1 percent non-Hispanic Black; 75.6 percent non-Hispanic White; and 4.2 percent of other non-Hispanic race.

7.2 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24 years, 24.3 percent were between 25 and 39 years, 30.4 percent were between 40 and 54 years, 29.3 percent were between 55 and 69 years, and 8.9 percent were between the ages of 70 and or more.

36.8 percent did not graduate from high school, 33.7 percent did so without further education, 22.9 percent completed some college or an associate degree without further education, 6.0 percent completed a bachelor’s degree or higher education, and 0.7 percent had no educational attainment.

7 percent had an annual household income of less than $25 000, 30.4 percent had an annual income of $25 000-$74 999, 6.7 percent had an annual income of $75 000 or more, and 55.2 percent had an annual household income of less than $25 000.

20.5 percent smoked less than 10 cigarettes per day, 29.2 percent smoked 10 to 19 cigarettes per day, 37.6 percent smoked 20 to 29 cigarettes per day, and 12.7 percent smoked more than 30 cigarettes per day.

Findings

6.2 percent of adult daily cigarette smokers who did not use e-cigarettes and had no intention of ever quitting smoking completely did not consume any cigarettes at follow-up in the whole study group.

When comparing those who used e-cigarettes daily to those who did not use e-cigarettes at all, the odds of cigarette discontinuation were significantly higher among those who used e-cigarettes daily, whereas the odds of cigarette discontinuation among those who used e-cigarettes nondaily did not statistically differ from those who did not use e-cigarettes at all, according to the findings.

Overall, 10.7 percent of adult daily cigarette smokers who were not using e-cigarettes and who had no intention of ever quitting smoking for good stopped smoking daily cigarettes.

Conclusion

Comparing those who used e-cigarettes every day versus those who did not use e-cigarettes at all, those who used e-cigarettes every day had a higher chance of quitting daily cigarette smoking, while those who used e-cigarettes nondaily had no statistically significant difference in their chances of quitting daily cigarette smoking.

According to the findings of this cohort study, daily e-cigarette use was associated with increased probabilities of cigarette quitting among smokers who initially had no intention of ever stopping the habit.

Despite the risks associated with vaping products, the researchers believe they could be a useful public health tool in assisting smokers who have no intention of quitting to change their habits.

Source: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.40880

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