An e-cigarette study from 2022 shows: The e-cigarette is significantly more effective for successfully quitting smoking compared to tobacco substitute products such as nicotine patches or chewing gum. The main reason for this is that in terms of feel and habitual use – the keyword smoking break should be mentioned here – it is much more similar to the classic tobacco cigarette. This statement was scientifically proven for the first time in 2019 by a comparative study by the London Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, which was carried out by scientists working with clinical psychologist Prof. Peter Hajek. A current study by Queen Mary University of London from the current year 2022 now supports these results (source). This time the graduate health psychologist Katie Myers Smith was in charge, and Prof. Hajek was also involved in the work.
E-cigarette study 2022: Vaping three times more effectively!
For the e-cigarette study in 2022, 135 smokers were scientifically monitored for six months. All subjects were long-time smokers who had set themselves the goal of quitting smoking, but had not been successful in quitting smoking despite several attempts. First, the participants were divided into two groups according to a “randomized controlled trial”, a quasi scientifically proven random principle. In one group, each study participant received an e-cigarette starter set and some basic instructions for use. The subjects in the other group received a classic nicotine replacement product of their choice, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum or a throat spray. None of the 135 participants in the e-cigarette study from 2022 had previously favored a specific smoking cessation method.
The results of the study speak for themselves: After the study period of six months, 19 percent of the e-cigarette users had stopped smoking completely and 27 percent of this group managed to reduce their tobacco consumption by more than that with the help of the e-cigarette reduce in half. For comparison: In the control group of users of nicotine replacement products, only 6 percent of the test persons were able to reduce smoking by more than half and only 3 percent managed to stop smoking completely.
The results of the e-cigarette study from 2022 were published in the scientific journal “Addiction”. In summary, the scientists involved in the survey said that when limited additional assistance is provided, e-cigarettes are “more effective than nicotine replacement products in reducing and stopping smoking for smokers who have failed to quit with conventional methods.” Katie Myers Smith of London’s Queen Mary University, lead author of the new EC study, said in a statement smokers who have difficulty using other methods should be recommended EC for quitting, particularly when other behavioral support is limited.
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The result of the study is clear
The result of the e-cigarette study from 2022 is clear: “In smokers with a history of unsuccessful quitting, EC [e-cigarettes] were more effective than NRT [nicotine replacement treatment] both in terms of CO-validated reduction in smoking of at at least 50% and in terms of smoking cessation.”
[In smokers who had previously tried to quit smoking without success, e-cigarettes were more effective than traditional nicotine replacement products, both in terms of reducing smoking by at least 50 percent based on carbon monoxide measurements of exhaled air and in terms of smoking cessation]
In the discussion section of the new e-cigarette study, the reasons for the significantly better balance sheet of the e-cigarette are suggested: “EC [e-cigarette] use seems to require less effort, possibly because EC are better than NRT [nicotine replacement treatment] in providing what smokers seek.”
[The use of e-cigarettes appears to be more accessible, possibly because e-cigarettes are more apt than traditional substitutes when it comes to providing what smokers are looking for]
Certainly the supply of nicotine is an important reason for smoking and for some vapers also for vaping. E-cigarettes can meet this need and, with liquids in different nicotine strengths, even offer the user the option of adjusting the nicotine intake according to their own needs or gradually reducing it. However, the purely physical aspect of nicotine intake can also be represented with classic nicotine replacement products.
For many smokers, however, smoking also has a social component: It structures the day (the cigarette after dinner, after work, etc.), it enables socially more or less accepted and legitimate breaks, and smoking together, for example in a circle, is encouraged by colleagues, as sociable and may even make it easier for smokers to join a new college, a new working group or something similar. Thomas Hengarten, Professor of Folklore at the University of Hamburg, also speaks of “smoking as a social act and personality signal”: “Smoking can create small communities among people. Just think of smoke breaks where the mere fact of smoking brings a group together”. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) makes a similar statement on the website rauch-frei.info: “Frequent repetitions of e.g. breaks or conversations unconsciously give the cigarette different social and psychological functions. For many smokers, this creates associations with smoking such as comfort, pleasure, reward or a break”.
So when the e-cigarette study 2022 from Queen Mary University talks about “what smokers are looking for”, it doesn’t just mean nicotine. The social components of smoking cannot be represented with classic tobacco substitute products. The e-cigarette can meet these requirements due to its feel and functionality, but is proven to be at least 95 percent less harmful than classic tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigarette study 2022 in comparison
The e-cigarette study from 2022 was preceded by a study by clinical psychologist Prof. Peter Hajek, which was carried out in 2019 at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine. At that time, 886 subjects took part in the survey, who were also given either e-cigarettes or alternative nicotine replacement products in a randomized control procedure.
The participants received medical support for four weeks in 2019 and were then selectively examined. As a result, 18 percent of former smokers who had used e-cigarettes to quit smoking managed to stop smoking completely after one year, compared to only 9.9 percent of users of classic nicotine replacement products in the Wolfson study.
The conclusions of the scientists involved were therefore also clear here: “E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioral support.”
[E-cigarettes were more effective in stopping smoking than nicotine replacement therapy when use of both products was accompanied by behavioral support].
The new edition of a comparable test arrangement in the course of the new e-cigarette study makes sense for two reasons: On the one hand, vaping products available on the market continue to develop. E-cigarettes may release nicotine more effectively as technology advances, and new products such as liquids based on nicotine salt are becoming available on the market. A further technical development of nicotine replacement products would of course also be conceivable. On the other hand, the social context in which the investigations take place is subject to permanent changes. People may behave differently in a pandemic situation like the one around the world in 2020, real incomes may rise or fall, ecological awareness and the desire for a more conscious, holistic lifestyle are subject to fluctuations, etc.
Irrespective of the changing parameters on the technical or social side, the e-cigarette study by Queen Mary University of London confirms the results of the previous survey two years earlier: Those who decide to stop smoking have significantly higher chances of success with e-cigarettes than with e-cigarettes classic nicotine replacement products!